Totten Glacier System in East Antarctica
Now Archived: Live event (webinar) with Glenn Clark and the researcher team aboard the Palmer.
Glenn Clark hosted a great webinar sharing all the experiences he had while sailing to Antarctica and studying the Totten Glacier System. Check out this presentation and other webinars at the PolarConnect Event Archives.
What Are They Doing?
This project investigated the marine system of the Totten Glacier and Moscow University Ice Shelf, East Antarctica which has shown a recent increase in ice loss. This system is of critical importance because it drains one-eighth of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and contains a volume equivalent to nearly 7 meters of potential sea level rise, greater than the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet. This rarely explored region is the single largest, least understood, and potentially unstable marine glacial system in the world. Despite intense scrutiny of marine-based systems in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, little is known about the Totten Glacier system.
This project conducted a ship-based marine geologic and geophysical survey of the region, combined with a physical oceanographic study. The results have added to our understanding of the oceanographic and glacial system and its potentially sensitive response to environmental change. This endeavor complemented studies of other Antarctic ice shelves, oceanographic studies near the Antarctic Peninsula, and ongoing development of ice sheet and other ocean models.
Where Are They?
The research team worked on the East Antarctic coast including the remote Totten Glacier System and Moscow University Ice Shelf. The group arrived and departed from the southern ice via Tasmania. All field work was conducted on board the icebreaker R/V Nathanial B. Palmer. The Nathanial B. Palmer serves as a platform for up to 37 scientists and can operate safely year-round in Antarctic waters that are often stormy or ice-covered.
Meet the Team
Glenn Clark has been a wilderness studies and biology teacher for the past 29 years at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School in Parishville, New York. Prior to his teaching career he spent four years as Park and Assistant Forest Ranger in the Adirondack Mountains of Northern New York. Mr. Clark grew up in northern New York between the St. Lawrence River and the Adirondack State Park.
The Wilderness Studies program relies heavily on field-based activities, trips, and practical assessments. The program, developed by Mr. Clark, focuses on three main subjects: outdoor leadership training, Adirondack ecology and sportsman's education and outdoor survival. In his personal life Mr. Clark enjoys waterfowl and big game hunting, "old boy's" hockey, telemark skiing, canoeing, camping and spending time with his children.
Amy Leventer is a professor of geology at Colgate University, and teaches courses in oceanography, marine geology, environmental geology, paleoclimatology, climate change, and science and exploration. Her research is in the field of understanding climate change since the last glacial maximum with a focus on the paleoclimatic and paleoceanographic history of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Her specialty is micropaleontology and the study of fossil diatoms, algae with cell walls made of silica, which are especially well preserved in marine sediments around Antarctica. These data hold clues to the history of the presence or absence of sea ice and glacial ice, changes in oceanic productivity, and variations in oceanic circulation in the past. She has participated on over 20 research expeditions to Antarctica since 1983.