From January to March 2022, four Swedes participate in an expedition with the American icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer. The goal is to continue research on what happens beneath one of the largest floating glaciers in Antarctica, the Thwaites Glacier, using the autonomous underwater vehicle, Ran.
The project TARSAN (Thwaites-Amundsen Regional Survey and Network Integrating Atmosphere-Ice-Ocean Processes) is a ship-based project studying how processes in the atmosphere and ocean influence the stability and behaviour of the Thwaites Glacier and the neighbouring Dotson Ice Shelves.
The project includes sensors on the shelf ice that provide daily observations of oceanic, glaciological and atmospheric conditions. It gives a picture of how the shelf ice reacts. Measurements are also are made in the ocean on the continental shelf and in the cavities under the shelf ice. That is done with the help of gliders, ship-based surveys, and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV). The Swedish Ran, which the University of Gothenburg owns, has a prominent role here. The data gathered will be supported by observations from CTD measurements.
The expedition is part of the US-British collaboration International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration ‒ a five-year research program to understand how the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica may contribute to the global rise in sea level.
Anna Wåhlin is a professor of Oceanography at the University of Gothenburg. In January, she will participate in an expedition on the American research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer. The goal is to continue research on what happens beneath one of the largest floating glaciers in Antarctica, the Thwaites Glacier, using the autonomous underwater vehicle Ran.
Facts about the project TARSAN
2 January to 8 March 2022
Amundsen Sea, West Antarctica
Ship: Nathaniel B. Palmer (US)
Participants from Sweden
- Anna Wåhlin, Professor of Oceanography at the University of Gothenburg, Swedish research leader
- Li Ling, PhD student at KTH Royal Institute of Technology
- Anders Sjövall, AUV technician at the company MMT
- Mark Symons, AUV technician at MMT
- The Swedish Research Council
- The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research
- Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
Safety equipment: Flotation suits, lifevests, helmets