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Science AMA Series: We’re scientists on a research ship to Antarctica. We’re pulling up cores to look at the history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and predict its future. AMA!
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Hi Reddit, this is Rob McKay and Laura De Santis, co-chief scientists on the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 374 to Antarctica. We’re pulling up sediments from below the sea floor to look back in time about 20 million years to see how the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) evolved up to the present day. With this information, alongside our model-making colleagues, we can predict the future of Antarctica. This is particularly important because Antarctica is the largest source of fresh water on the planet and could contribute about 200 feet of sea level rise! It’s important to know how much the WAIS could contribute and when. To do this, a scientific team of sendimentologists, micropaleontologists, paleomagnetists, physical properties specialists, and geochemists have teamed up on the scientifici drilling ship the JOIDES Resolution for 9 weeks to drill thousands of feet below the sea floor and millions of years back in time. Read more about the expedition here: https://iodp.tamu.edu/scienceops/expeditions/ross_sea_ice_sheet_history.html. Looking forward to answering your questions! ​