Instruments and methods using distributed temperature sensors to monitor an Antarctic ice shelf and sub-ice-shelf cavity

S. W. Tyler, D. M. Holland, V. Zagorodnov, A. A. Stern, C. Sladek, S. Kobs, S. White, F. Suárez, J. Bryenton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Monitoring of ice-shelf and sub-ice-shelf ocean temperatures represents an important component in understanding ice-sheet stability. Continuous monitoring is challenging due to difficult surface access, difficulties in penetrating the ice shelf, and the need for long-term operation of nonrecoverable sensors. We aim to develop rapid lightweight drilling and near-continuous fiber-optic temperature-monitoring methods to meet these challenges. During November 2011, two instrumented moorings were installed within and below the McMurdo Ice Shelf (a sub-region of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica) at Windless Bight. We used a combination of ice coring for the upper portion of each shelf borehole and hot-point drilling for penetration into the ocean. The boreholes provided temporary access to the ice-shelf cavity, into which distributed temperature sensing (DTS) fiber-optic cables and conventional pressure/temperature transducers were installed. The DTS moorings provided nearcontinuous (in time and depth) observations of ice and ocean temperatures to a depth of almost 800m beneath the ice-shelf surface. Data received document the presence of near-freezing water throughout the cavity from November through January, followed by an influx of warmer water reaching -150m beneath the ice-shelf base during February and March. The observations demonstrate prospects for achieving much higher spatial sampling of temperature than more conventional oceanographic moorings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-591
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Glaciology
Volume59
Issue number215
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2013

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ice shelf
cavity
sensor
temperature
fiber optics
monitoring
borehole
drilling
ice
method
transducer
warm water
cable
ice sheet
freezing
penetration
sampling
ocean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes

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Instruments and methods using distributed temperature sensors to monitor an Antarctic ice shelf and sub-ice-shelf cavity. / Tyler, S. W.; Holland, D. M.; Zagorodnov, V.; Stern, A. A.; Sladek, C.; Kobs, S.; White, S.; Suárez, F.; Bryenton, J.

In: Journal of Glaciology, Vol. 59, No. 215, 07.2013, p. 583-591.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tyler, SW, Holland, DM, Zagorodnov, V, Stern, AA, Sladek, C, Kobs, S, White, S, Suárez, F & Bryenton, J 2013, 'Instruments and methods using distributed temperature sensors to monitor an Antarctic ice shelf and sub-ice-shelf cavity', Journal of Glaciology, vol. 59, no. 215, pp. 583-591. https://doi.org/10.3189/2013JoG12J207
Tyler, S. W. ; Holland, D. M. ; Zagorodnov, V. ; Stern, A. A. ; Sladek, C. ; Kobs, S. ; White, S. ; Suárez, F. ; Bryenton, J. / Instruments and methods using distributed temperature sensors to monitor an Antarctic ice shelf and sub-ice-shelf cavity. In: Journal of Glaciology. 2013 ; Vol. 59, No. 215. pp. 583-591.
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