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Victoria University Antarctic Research Expedition Science and Logistics Reports 1999-2000: VUWAE 44

2. Proposed Programme

2. Proposed Programme

The principal questions we sought to answer with our work during the season 1999/2000 were:
  • Is the Wilson Piedmont Glacier suitable for reconstructing Holocene Climate of the Dry Valley area?

    The study of aerial photographs and satellite images enabled us to identify suitable drilling sites to answer such a question at Victoria Lower Glacier and Baldwin Glacier. Due to their different characteristics in catchment, altitude, page 3 and topography, a comparison between the cores from the two areas will allow the effect of local influences to be separated from the regional climatic signal.

    In help interpret the ice core record, we installed a mass balance measurement device (Hamilton & Whillans, 1995), measured borehole temperature and sampled snow profiles. The glacier topography in the vicinity of the drilling sites has been surveyed using differential GPS. The mass balance device will record from next year on the actual state of mass balance of the Victoria Lower Glacier. The borehole temperature will be used to calculate mean annual air temperature and the investigations of the snow samples will help to understand the acting processes during snow – firn – ice metamorphism.

  • What are the transfer functions between meteorological data, satellite images and the ice core proxies?

    In order to calculate absolute temperature, precipitation and sea ice values, it is necessary to calibrate the ice core record with the measured climatic parameters of the area. For that reason meteorological data and satellite images, quantifying sea ice extent in the McMurdo Sound area, will be used to convert isotopic ratios and methane sulphuric acid percentages into temperature, precipitation and sea ice extent values. Once these transfer functions have been established, they can be used to convert ice core data beyond such records.

Fig.:1 Map of Drilling Sites at Victoria Lower Glacier and Baldwin Valey

Fig.:1 Map of Drilling Sites at Victoria Lower Glacier and Baldwin Valey