The Sleeping Giant: Measuring Ocean Ice Interactions in Antarctica

September 9 - 12, 2013
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA 91125

Workshop Overview:

Sea level rise remains one of the most poorly predicted and potentially costly impacts of human caused climate change. Projections for sea level rise between now and 2100 range from 1 to 7 feet, which could affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide. This dramatic range of uncertainty frustrates decision making at all levels, from government to industry to individuals. Global sea level depends on a complex, inter-connected system with many components. But the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, which contain ice equivalent to 80 meters of sea level, are the most critical and most uncertain components of this system.

Recent work has suggested that interactions between the ocean and marine terminating glaciers may control the fate of some ice sheets. For example, in West Antarctica much of the ice rests below current sea level and is connected to the oceans through ice streams and outlet glaciers like Pine Island and Thwaites. It has been postulated that these two glaciers—both of which are thinning rapidly—are reacting to warm Circumpolar Deep Water that is intruding from the north, a process that could ultimately cause the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and potentially result in 10 feet of global sea level rise.

We propose to study this potential “tipping point” of global sea level rise. In particular, we will develop scientific requirements for an observing system to monitor the ocean conditions near key outlet glaciers such as Pine Island and Thwaites, test hypotheses for relating ocean conditions to ice loss, and cultivate a new generation of sea level rise projections. Although many observational assets are already devoted to the Antarctic cryosphere, the ocean near Antarctica remains poorly sampled and long-term campaigns will be required in order to answer the fundamental questions that stymie present-day sea level projections. Given harsh conditions and remote locations, remote sensing techniques will likely play an important role along with more traditional in situ observing systems. Lessons learned from observational and numerical studies of particular outlet glaciers would be used to identify and better understand other regions of key ocean-ice interactions.

Workshop Participants:

Note this is an invitation-only workshop.

  • Louise C. Biddle - University of East Anglia
  • Carmen Boening - JPL
  • Knut Christianson - New York University
  • Ian Fenty - JPL
  • Ichiro Fukumori - JPL
  • Karen J. Heywood - University of East Anglia
  • David M. Holland - New York University
  • Chia-Wei Hsu - University of California, Irvine
  • Erik R. Ivins - JPL
  • Ian R. Joughin - University of Washington
  • Ala Khazendar - JPL
  • Ron Kwok - JPL
  • Felix W. Landerer - JPL
  • Eric Yves Larour - JPL
  • Brent M. Minchew - Caltech
  • Sophie MJ Nowicki - NASA GSFC
  • Antony J. Payne - University of Bristol
  • Eric Rignot - University of California, Irvine
  • Mirko Scheinert - Dresden University of Technology
  • Michael Schodlok - UCLA
  • Mark Simons - Caltech
  • Andrew L. Stewart - Caltech
  • Andrew F. Thompson - Caltech
  • Isabella Velicogna - University of California Irvine
  • Anna K. Wahlin - University of Gothenburg
  • Michael M. Watkins - JPL
  • Benjamin G. Webber - University of East Anglia
  • Josh Willis - JPL

Lodging for out-of-town attendees

There are a number of hotels (6 page pdf, 56KB) that are close to the Caltech campus where we have a negotiated rate. (Please note that this negotiated rate does not guarantee you the lowest rate as there may be internet specials or AAA rates that may be better.)

Please note that with enough notice, you can reserve rooms for attendees at the Athenaeum, which has been recognized as a Platinum Club of America. Newly refurbished, it is conveniently located on the Caltech Campus. Contact Janet Seid if you would like to check the availability of this option.

Visa Requirements

For Visa requirement information and travel to the United States please visit the website of the U.S. Department of State.

Parking (for Visitors and for JPL Personnel)

For Visitors: From the Arroyo Parkway, turn right (east) on Del Mar Avenue. Proceed approximately one and a quarter miles. The Caltech campus will be on your right. Turn right (south) onto Michigan Avenue. Turn right into the outdoor parking lot and park in an unmarked spot. Buy a parking permit from the kiosks near the middle of the lot or request one ahead of time from KISS.

For JPL Personnel: JPLers may use their JPL hang tag for parking or request a special parking hangtag from the JPL parking office. Employees who do not have on-Lab parking privileges can obtain a hang tag created for this purpose from JPL parking coordinator Robert Kennedy (818-354-4586, Building 310-108B, 9/80 schedule). Please park in the outdoor parking lot located on Michigan Avenue in an unmarked spot.

Maps and General Information on Pasadena

Directions and Maps

Short Course Lectures
Salvatori Seminar Room, South Mudd Building

Anna Wahlin
University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Oceanography at the Antarctic Margins
(6.4 MB pdf)

David Holland
New York University

Ocean-Ice Interactions: An Oceanic Perspective
(2.8 MB pdf)

Tony Payne
University of Bristol

Ocean-Ice Interactions: A Cryospheric Perspective
(4.0 MB pdf)

Eric Rignot
UC Irvine

Observing Antarctic Glaciers
(15.8 MB pdf)

Workshop Lightning Talks
Keith Spalding Building - 3rd Floor - Room 376

Sophie Nowicki

Lightning Talk - State of the Art of Measurement: Brief Introduction to SeaRISE
(4.2 MB pdf)

Karen J. Heywood
University of East Anglia

Lightning Talk - State of the Art of Measurement: Autosub Autonomous Underwater Vehicle
(7.0 MB pdf)

Anna Wahlin
University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Lightning Talk - State of the Art of Measurement: Southern Ocean Observing System - Brief Introduction, Current Status
(4.1 MB pdf)

Josh Willis

Lightning Talk - OMG: Oceans Melting Greenland
(1.95 MB pdf)