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Project 4 - Sea Ice and Carbon Cycle Feedbacks

Project 4 - Sea Ice and Carbon Cycle Feedbacks

Project Four will investigate processes that influence sea ice variability and the uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Southern Ocean. In collaboration with Project two, it will quantify processes that control sea ice break-up and heat transfer (advection). It will assess the role of sea ice in buttressing ice shelves and associated impacts for ice shelf stability, and as a key habitat and source of primary productivity for marine ecosystems.

The project will focus on the questions:

  1. What are the drivers of sea ice variability and changes in Southern Ocean CO2 uptake?
  2. Are they related?
  3. What are the consequences?

From the Field 2019/20

Sea Ice measurements in McMurdo Sound

Maren K891

Event number K891

This team of two, including Maren Richter, the 2019 Antarctica New Zealand Sir Robin Irvine Scholarship recipient, successfully retrieved the sea ice mass balance station installed on the sea ice during the winter to download the collected data. The obtained data provide important measurements of winter to spring sea ice growth near the ice shelf edge. The team also carried out two days of sea ice thickness traverses in McMurdo Sound which will help to ground-truth remote sensing measurements. The skidoo-based traverse was rougher than usual due to a large number of pressure ridges that had formed in the area..

The Scientists


Lead Principal Investigator: James Renwick

James’ Antarctic research career began around 20 years ago when he started analysing sea ice data. He is the Head of the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Science at Victoria University of Wellington and a Professor of Physical Geography. James says Antarctic research is important because it’s fascinating, unique, extreme and critical to the global climate. The more he looks at sea ice the more interesting it becomes.

For more information about James’ research background please click here

Nat with platelet 2016

Co-Principal Investigator: Natalie Robinson

Natalie got into Antarctic research because she says it’s a fascinating place to study with new discoveries to be made every time you go south. She is currently a Marine Physicist at NIWA continuing her research journey which began in 2003. She says it is now imperative to better understand Antarctica’s role in the climate system and predict its response to a warming world.

For more information about Natalie’s research please click here

Liz On Glacier

Co-Principal Investigator: Liz Keller

Liz’s Antarctic journey began with the RICE Project and analysing ice core data. She is currently a Data Scientist and Modeller at GNS Science. Liz says Antarctica is important to her because although it is isolated and far away, what happens there can have enormous global consequences. She is fascinated by what we can learn about the earth’s climate thousands and millions of years ago by drilling into the ice sheet and ocean floor.

For more information about Liz’s research background please click here

Early Career Researchers