OSU researchers receive NSF grant, will travel to Antarctica

July 20, 2009

Dr. Alex Simms, assistant professor in the Boone Pickens School of Geology, and Dr. Regina DeWitt, assistant research professor in the physics department, have received a $199,978 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue a research project on sea level changes in Antarctica. Next spring, Simms and two graduate students will travel to the continent to collect samples of beach deposits.

"We will be trying to determine how much ice was on Antarctica during the last ice age by determining how much the continent has rebounded from the melting of the ice," Simms said. "This rebound is recorded in the present elevation of beach ridges that were once at the same level as the ocean but are now up to 100 feet high due to the land coming up."

Using a technique known as optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), Simms and DeWitt will date the beach deposits to determine how sea level has changed over the last several thousand years. A smaller, exploratory NSF award in 2007 proved OSL is effective in dating Antarctic beach deposits. Although OSL has been utilized to date the last sunlight exposure and deposition of loose sediment grains, Simms and DeWitt are the first to use OSL dating techniques on solid rocks from the Antarctic.

Determining the past thickness of the Antarctic ice sheet is critical in understanding how ice sheets respond to sea level and climate change, Simms said.

The team will spend a majority of their six-week trip in Marguerite Bay, the past location of one of the continent's northernmost ice streams. They will travel aboard the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer - a large 300-foot icebreaker that will leave them at different spots along the coast to collect samples. Simms said the team will even camp among the penguins for several days.
-end-


Oklahoma State University

Related Sea Level Articles from Brightsurf:

Sea-level rise will have complex consequences
Rising sea levels will affect coasts and human societies in complex and unpredictable ways, according to a new study that examined 12,000 years in which a large island became a cluster of smaller ones.

From sea to shining sea: new survey reveals state-level opinions on climate change
A new report analyzing state-level opinions on climate change finds the majority of Americans believe in and want action on climate change--but factors like state politics and local climate play important roles.

UM researcher proposes sea-level rise global observing system
University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science researcher Shane Elipot proposes a new approach to monitoring global sea-level rise.

How much will polar ice sheets add to sea level rise?
Over 99% of terrestrial ice is bound up in the ice sheets covering Antarctic and Greenland.

Larger variability in sea level expected as Earth warms
A team of researchers from the University of Hawai'i (UH) at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) identified a global tendency for future sea levels to become more variable as oceans warm this century due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Sea-level rise could make rivers more likely to jump course
A new study shows that sea level rise will cause rivers to change course more frequently.

UCF study: Sea level rise impacts to Canaveral sea turtle nests will be substantial
The study examined loggerhead and green sea turtle nests to predict beach habitat loss at four national seashores by the year 2100.

Wetlands will keep up with sea level rise to offset climate change
Sediment accrual rates in coastal wetlands will outpace sea level rise, enabling wetlands to increase their capacity to sequester carbon, a study from the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, shows.

How sea level rise affects birds in coastal forests
Saltwater intrusion changes coastal vegetation that provides bird habitat. Researchers found that the transition from forests to marshes along the North Carolina coast due to climate change could benefit some bird species of concern for conservation.

As sea level rises, wetlands crank up their carbon storage
Some wetlands perform better under pressure. A new Nature study revealed that when faced with sea-level rise, coastal wetlands respond by burying even more carbon in their soils.

Read More: Sea Level News and Sea Level Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.