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Meltzone 2011: CCNY expedition to track life and death of supraglacial lake
Date:6/14/2011

d "moulins" the surrounding ice is subject to movements that can cause ground-shaking 'ice quakes'. The team will drill an array of monitoring equipment into the ice to track ice movement as the lakes drain and better understand the drainage. The monitors use DGPS, a high-precision global positioning system that uses satellite and ground stations to give greater positioning accuracy than a car or cellphone GPS.

A radio-controlled mini helicopter fitted with a camera will help the expedition party estimate the size and depth of the lake. Professor Tedesco used a similar craft on a past expedition in Antarctica.

The team will also study the scattered, dark deposits of "cryoconite," extremely fine wind-borne particles carried to Greenland from around the world. Cryoconite begins life as soot, dust, soil and pollution and collects in depressions on the glacier. It absorbs more solar energy than the surrounding snow and ice, in turn, causing the snow to heat, melt and form small water-filled holes in the ice. Bacteria appear in these microhabitats, a phenomenon Dr. Foreman will study.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tedesco will measure the albedo, or reflected light, of the cryoconite versus clean snow and ice. Getting a baseline albedo for each type of ground coverage will allow them to calibrate satellite data and map coverage types on wide swaths of glacier.

Professor Tedesco will tweet his progress throughout the expedition for an interactive experience, updating his followers and Facebook page with photos, observations and their locations across the glacier. In addition, he will be reachable via satellite phone, and followers will have the chance to name a newborn lake on the glacier. Links to Twitter and Facebook feeds appear below.


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Contact: Jessa Netting
jnetting@ccny.cuny.edu
212-650-7615
City College of New York
Source:Eurekalert

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