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mosaic image of Antarctica

LIMA Challenge
Fall 2008 NASA Quest Challenge!



Preliminary Proposal
Submitted by:

Proposal from:

Amery Ice Shelf
Project submitted by:
LAB R.A.T.S. Science Club
Caddo Hills School
Norman, AR


Amery ice shelf is a broad ice shelf at the head of Prydz Bay between the Lars Christensen Coast and Ingrid Christensen Coast. First mapped in February, 1931, the Amery Ice Shelf is classified as a glacier. Located between Prydz Bay and McKenzie Bay in the Eastern side of the Antarctic Continent, Amery Ice Shelf seems relatively isolated. The shelf was named (1947) for William B. Amery who was a representative of The U.K. in Australia in the mid-1920's.

The Latitude and Longitude of the Amery Ice Shelf is 694500S Latitude; 0710000E Longitude. Click on map for larger, more detailed version

small version of proposed site

closer up of proposed site

Question:
We are interested in the Amery Ice Shelf for various reasons. In 2006 a team of scientists investigated the cracks that are continuing on the shelf. We want to know if those cracks have continued their astonishing rate of growth. If so, is there danger of a large portion of the shelf breaking off? Also, we want to know if the thickness of the ice has changed significantly since the 2006 study. in addition, have the number and diversity of organisms changed in this time?

Our hypothesis is that the cracks have continued, and that the ice, when it refreezes, is getting thinner. We think that the number and diversity of organisms have changed due to temporary decreases in water temperatures and lesser concentrations of salinity because of ice melt. Our belief is that both global warming and possible changes in tides of the Indian Ocean related to global warming are to blame for these changes on the Amery Ice Shelf.
We think this is a worthwhile project in order for us to learn more about the fragility of the ecosystem in Antarctica. By studying the Amery Ice Shelf, we can learn more about our ever changing environment and perhaps avert extinction of some species due to human impact.


 


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NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: November 2008
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