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Ice Sheet Hydrology

Charactarizing the configuration, behavior, and impact of hydrologic systems in Antarctica and Greenland.

Subglacial and supraglacial water networks are dynamic systems that can exert strong control on ice flow, yet their influence on ice sheet stability is still poorly understood. One reason for this is the challenge of observing the properties of expansive water networks (spanning hundreds of thousands of square kilometers) as well as their dynamically critical meter-scale geometry above, within, and below kilometers of ice. Our work in this area focuses on addressing that challenge by developing improved techniques to characterize hydrologic bed conditions with ice penetrating radar so that their impact on ice sheet behavior can be better observed, modeled, and projected. Our recent work has focused on Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica, which is one of the largest, most rapidly changing, and potentially most unstable glaciers in the world. We are building on this work by taking advantage of existing data, instruments, and collaborations to apply similar techniques to other regions in Antarctica, Greenland, and the Arctic.

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