28 January 2022

#AntarcticLog: How much? How Fast?

Posted by Shane Hanlon

#AntarcticLog is a series of comics by Karen Romano Young. You can find the originals here.

How Much? How Fast? 

That’s the big question International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration scientists are digging into as they explore above, below, and beyond this immense, powerful, thawing glacier. 

Here’s the target area for Research Vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer. 

And here’s one of the parts of that target that have created the biggest challenge to research. 

Last week I posted a new #AntarcticLog comic showing some of the ways scientists plan to reach the underside of the Thwaites ice shelf… Ran, the Hugin autonomous underwater vehicle, 7 meters (23 feet); Boaty McBoatface, 3.62 m (11.9 feet); and Icefin, 3.5 m (11.48 feet).  

Also on the deep-diving team: the gliders from the University of East Anglia and the TARSAN project, aimed at adding new pieces to the puzzle of what’s going on under the Thwaites Glacier — and why it differs from some of its slower-thawing neighbors. 

TARSAN stands for Thwaites-Amundsen Regional Survey and Network. Besides the robots they’re bringing, these researchers will monitor findings made by some locals: seals! 

Karen Romano Young is a writer, artist, deep-sea diver, and polar explorer. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram