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Researching a Grounded Glacier

UD researchers deploy weather station on Petermann Glacier in Greenland

by University of Delaware
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Peter WashamPeter Washam at the first drill site on Petermann Glacier.Photo courtesy of the University of Delaware2:42 p.m., Aug. 12, 2015--University of Delaware oceanographer Andreas Muenchow and doctoral student Peter Washam are part of an international research team that successfully drilled through a floating Greenland glacier this week and deployed the first UD ocean sensors underneath. 

The UD researchers are part of a U.S.-Swedish expedition working to document changes in the grounded Petermann Glacier, which connects the great Greenland ice sheet directly with the ocean. 

The sensors will measure vertical tidal motions of the floating glacier over the next several weeks using GPS technology, and provide researchers the first-ever measurements of the ocean conditions underneath.

Muenchow, an associate professor of oceanography in UD’s School of Marine Science and Policy, which is housed in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, and Washam also deployed an UD-developed automated weather station (AWS) at separate location on the glacier. 

The AWS is currently transmitting atmospheric data at regular intervals to Muenchow aboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden. The AWS will also support five ocean sensors to measure temperature and salinity at a future point in the expedition.

Collaborators in the U.S.-Swedish expedition include researchers from Oregon State University and the University of Gothenburg.  

To follow the UD researcher’s trip on social media, search the hashtag #Petermann2015, or visit Muenchow’s blog IcySeas.