Antarctic Ice Stream Dynamics


Dominique can also be followed on Facebook here and @EastAntarctica on Twitter!

View her archived PolarConnect event from 18 April 2015 here.

What Are They Doing?

The East Antarctic Ice Sheet The East Antarctic Ice Sheet The movement of warmer ocean water through or around relatively cooler ice sheets has the potential to lead to increased melting of the ice sheets. This project will determine the potential vulnerability of key ice streams to the infiltration of warmer ocean water and whether this could explain any of the observed thinning of the ice sheet. It will provide important information about a particular section of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and therefore will be critical for future ice sheet models and investigations into the ice sheet's contributions to sea levels.

Where Are They?

The Nathanial B. Palmer icebreakerThe Nathanial B. Palmer icebreaker The research team will be traveling on-board the icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer. The expedition will begin in New Zealand or Australia and will travel along the East Antarctic Margin and return to Punta Arenas, Chile. The vessel is named after Nathaniel Palmer, the first American credited with sighting Antarctica. It can operate safely year-round in Antarctic waters, and is capable of supporting approximately four dozen scientists on expeditions that last for months. Learn more about life aboard the N.B. Palmer here.


ECW gear
Expedition Lecture Being back in Los Angeles means back to outreach as well! Now I have all the experience, photos and facts from Antarctica to share with you. Join me at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium on Thursday, June 18th in the John M. Olguin Auditorium from 2pm-3pm to learn more about our research expedition and Antarctica! You can ask questions and try out some of the Extreme Cold Weather too! A visitor trying on the Extreme Cold Weather Gear at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. Goodbye for now! As I wrap up this amazing experience I want to give another heart-felt Thank You! to everyone on the...
Team NBP1503
I'm finishing up packing and getting ready to airport hop my way back home. I will be back to let everyone know about upcoming outreach opportunities and the eventual results of the research done on this expedition, though that won't be for a while. Before I disappear I wanted to take the opportunity to thank the amazing people that have made this rewarding opportunity happen. NBP1503 has been an unbelievable experience for me. I've learned about things that, just a few weeks ago, I didn't even know existed and I have gotten to experience things I thought I'd only ever see in documentaries....
Leaving NBP
Update Today we disembarked the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer. We cleaned up our cabins and turned in our equipment and gear. I was a little sad to leave the ship that has been my home and work for the past 6 weeks. This has been an incredible experience with incredible people. We'll be stopping by one last time tomorrow to unload the last of the water samples and then that will be it. We'll be heading back to our respective institutions across the world: LA, New York, Argentina, France, Portugal, Japan and Australia. The crew and science support team will be taking the NBP back to Chile where it...
Assorted NBP1503 photos
Update Since we got back a little early, we’ll get to disembark a little early too. Tomorrow we finish unloading all of the water samples from the CTDs, then we should be leaving the ship in two days! It feels like it’s all gone by so fast. A few of us were able to sneak away from work and get off the ship for a few hours today. It felt really nice to stand on solid ground and see green things. We had to take our shoes off and walk in the grass for bit. Dominique enjoying sunshine and green grass after 5 weeks in Antarctica. One Last Contest! As we wrap up our research, what was your...
NBP1503 track
Updates We made it back to Hobart! We still have busy days of packing and unloading before we depart the vessel. We also still have to finish the official cruise report since we got in early and had less time to work on it than expected. The cooks did bring on some fresh fruits and vegetables today. I cannot express how happy I am to see raspberries and strawberries and lettuce. Cruise Report Overview This has been a very productive trip and we collected a lot of data. Although we weren’t able to do everything in the original research plan—we weren’t able to take any cores—but that is the...

Expedition Resources

Project Information

15 March 2015 to 30 April 2015
Location: Research Vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer
Project Funded Title: Vulnerability of East Antarctic ice streams to warm ocean water incursions

Meet the Team

Dominique Richardson's picture
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
Los Angeles, CA
United States

Dominique Richardson received her Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution from UCLA and her Master of Science in Environmental Science from CSULA. While she has always had a strong interest in science and research, in 2005 Dominique began working as a teaching assistant and has been engrossed in science education ever since. Dominique’s love of hands-on, inquiry based learning has lead her from her beginnings in formal science teaching to working as an informal science educator. Dominique currently works at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium where she mentors students on how to develop and execute their own original, independent research projects and teaches both students and the public about the ocean, marine life and marine conservation. When she’s not teaching or caring for animals at work, Dominique loves to travel, take lots of photos and spend time outdoors with her husband and dog.

Frank Nitsche's picture
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Palisades, NY
United States

Frank O. Nitsche received a MS in geophysics from the University of Kiel, Germany and a PhD from the University of Bremen, Germany. In 2001 he came to the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University where he started as a postdoctoral researcher and is now a research scientist. There he studies sediment processes and morphological conditions of the Hudson River Estuary and the Long Island Sound. In addition, he investigates the morphology of the Antarctic continental margin and is reconstructing the path of past ice streams and related sediment transport processes. He has participated in six expeditions to Antarctica and its surrounding Southern Ocean where he used acoustic mapping techniques and oceanographic measurements to understand past and present processes that shape the Antarctic continental margins and affect the ice sheet. He is involved in the creation of the International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean. Read more about Dr. Nitsche here.

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Latest Comments

Hahaha, perfect. I vote that the best pun of the whole cruise.
It's been a great expedition to follow, and though I've been cramped for time for sharing with my students, what I have shared they have really enjoyed! I love all the little "try at home" things...
Your journals have been incredible! It will be great to see what comes as the data is analyzed and your community hears more about your expedition. Thanks for connecting us to this research!