Advertisement

Archive for Tuesday, August 17, 2010

KU center gets $17.9 million to continue study of polar ice sheets

Mountains along the coast of Antarctica release icebergs into the Amundsen Sea during an October 2009 NASA mission which CReSIS engineers took part in to measure changes in polar ice and sea ice.

Mountains along the coast of Antarctica release icebergs into the Amundsen Sea during an October 2009 NASA mission which CReSIS engineers took part in to measure changes in polar ice and sea ice.

August 17, 2010

Advertisement

KU graduate student and research assistant Lei Shi, left, consults Electrical Engineering Professor Chris Allen, technical director of CReSIS, on radar settings during an October 2009 research flight.

KU graduate student and research assistant Lei Shi, left, consults Electrical Engineering Professor Chris Allen, technical director of CReSIS, on radar settings during an October 2009 research flight.

A massive sheet of ice prepares to break off the Pine Island Glacier of Antarctica. The ice appearing above the surface of the ocean is roughly 50 meters thick.

A massive sheet of ice prepares to break off the Pine Island Glacier of Antarctica. The ice appearing above the surface of the ocean is roughly 50 meters thick.

One of the specialized radars developed by CReSIS engineers at KU shows a distinct layer (in red) within the ice sheet on a real-time display. The radars also capture more detailed information that can be interpreted with additional computing power.

One of the specialized radars developed by CReSIS engineers at KU shows a distinct layer (in red) within the ice sheet on a real-time display. The radars also capture more detailed information that can be interpreted with additional computing power.

Ice researchers from KU get funding for next five years

The CReSIS research center received a $17.9 million grant to help fund its climate research. Enlarge video

Armed with $17.9 million in new federal funding, Kansas University’s Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets is looking to enter a new phase of its research on polar ice.

Since its founding in 2005, CReSIS has looked at ways to get a better sense of how to predict the impact of climate change on the world’s glaciers.

One example: KU researchers have developed an unmanned aircraft that can sweep across sheets of ice and provide detailed topographic images of the surfaces below.

While it’s easy to get a sense of the surface, CReSIS’ airplane can get an accurate picture of what’s going on at the ice bed.

The depth, thickness and geometry of the surface can all make a big difference in predicting how ice melts, as can the amount of water underneath the ice.

Think of an ice cube on a table, said Prasad Gogineni, the center’s director. If there’s no water underneath it, it may stick to the table.

But if it begins to melt, and a film of water forms between the ice cube and the table, the ice can move about a lot easier.

With the new funding in hand, CReSIS researchers can take technology that’s been developed over the past five years, and take it out into the field and begin gathering data, Gogineni said.

Current sea level projections don’t include estimates for the melting of the polar ice caps, because the data is too unreliable, said Richard Hale, associate professor of aerospace engineering.

Hale designed the new unmanned aircraft that will sweep across Greenland and Antarctica to gather data scientists have never seen.

And that, he said, is the whole point.

“We ask scientists, ‘What information do you need?’” Hale said, and then the center works on developing solutions to get at the data.

The airplane also saves on fuel costs; it takes about one-thirtieth the amount of fuel to fly, and allows access to more remote areas.

Beyond the planes, the center has developed numerous radars that can help map ice sheets at the surface, in the middle and at the bottom of the ice.

“We produce the best radars for ice sounding and imaging in the world,” Gogineni said.

He said he was happy to have been funded again and to have the opportunity to put these kinds of technologies into the field.

“The center has been a valuable asset for this university as well as the School of Engineering,” said Stuart Bell, KU’s engineering dean, in a release. “Dozens of our students, at both the graduate and undergraduate level, have been able to glean valuable hands-on experience before they advance from this institution.

Comments

Jimo 3 years, 8 months ago

The National Ice Core Laboratory gives interesting tours out in Denver but you have to plan in advance.

http://nicl.usgs.gov/tour2.htm

0

JustNoticed 3 years, 8 months ago

Astonishing! Be careful about using your brain for such nonsense, you might compromise your already over-burdened autonomic system.

0

lawrenceguy40 3 years, 8 months ago

This is an example of an out of control government spending YOUR money to prop up an outdated, liberal political dogma. A few years ago people may have said that this was sensible spending, but global warming has proven to be a liberal lie, so any further money down this particular drain should be thought of as propaganda by barry o and his pathetic liberal apologists.

75

0

GUMnNUTS 3 years, 8 months ago

Where are all of the KU bashers, I am certain they can make this into somethong negative.

0

Ken Lassman 3 years, 8 months ago

Sounds like it has the potential to be some of the most important research done at KU in terms of its potential impact. Hopefully it will help improve the data enough that ice melt can be better incorporated into global models.

0

TrooGrit 3 years, 8 months ago

welcome to obamastimulusposercareandinfiniteresourcecalledyourwallet.

Give it to me, I'll show you some stimulus and ice cubes!

0

puddleglum 3 years, 8 months ago

jesus....just think of the drag strip we could build for that kind of money...help us-someone!

0

puddleglum 3 years, 8 months ago

you are kidding right? 17 million dolllaz to study some ice? heck-I just pissed off the ol lady when she handed me my drink (without ice) and I asked her "did you lose the recipe for ice again?"

she flipped me off for some stupid reason

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.