OGIVE – Undergrad Research

Opportunities in Glacier InVEstigation

Easton Glacier on Mt. Baker. From left: Taryn Black (grad), Raphael Sauvage (undergrad), Jennifer Lomeli (undergrad)

OGIVE – definition: annual bands visible in some glaciers below an ice fall

OGIVE – acronym: Opportunities in Glacier InVEstigation is an summer research program of the glaciology group at University of Washington. OGIVE provides summer research opportunities for undergraduate students at University of Washington.

The summer of 2021 was the first phase of increasing the number of undergraduate participants and graduate student mentors. Four undergraduate participants, three graduate student advisors, two faculty advisors, and many more graduate and faculty collaborators participated. Through a generous private donation, the program will be expanded in the follow years to include more undergraduate student projects, more project and mentoring development, and more field experiences. Exciting details to come.

The Lake Forest Park glacial erratic is only visible from the waters of Lake Washington (or the house built right behind it). From left: Raphael Sauvage (undergrad), Victoria Johnson (undergrad), Taryn Black (grad), Alexis Irvin (undergrad, and Tyler Sutterley (faculty)

2021 Projects

Jennifer Lomeli (UW): Upper and lower bounds of geothermal flux at Hercules Dome, Antarctica

Graduate Student Advisor: Gemma O’Connor

Faculty Advisor: T.J. Fudge

Program: Washington Space Grant Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Project Description: The largest unknown for estimating internal ice temperatures and hence the temperature of ice at the bed is the geothermal flux – the amount of heat flow from the earth into the base of the ice sheet. This value is poorly known across all of Antarctica because of the sparsity of measurements. The goal of this project is to use geophysical indications of both frozen and melting at nearby locations with different ice thicknesses to constrain the geothermal flux. Ice flows differently near an ice divide due to the low stress, such that the shape of the vertical velocity can be diagnostic of a frozen bed. Subglacial lakes can be identified with radar by their smooth surface and specular reflection. The presence of subglacial lakes indicates a thawed bed. Hercules Dome has indications of both a frozen bed beneath the divide at relatively shallow ice thicknesses (~1600m) and a melting bed at a lake under thicker ice (~2400m), which are separated by tens of kilometers. The project will use an ice-and-heat flow model to find the range of geothermal flux values that produce both a frozen bed at shallow ice thickness and a melted bed with thicker ice. The goal is for the student to have: determine the range of geothermal flux values consistent with the basal thermal constraints; gained experience performing scientific research; gained experience reading, interpreting, and communicating about scientific literature; gained a general understanding of ice-core science; gained skills in coding in Matlab; and aided the climatic understanding of a future deep ice core site in Antarctica.

Maximum geothermal flux that allows a frozen bed can be identified with the pressure melting point is reached.

Raphael Sauvage (UW): Effective Diffusivity of Sulfate in the Dome C ice core

Graduate Student Advisor: Ben Hills

Faculty Advisor: T.J. Fudge

Program: Washington Space Grant Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Project Description: The goal of this project is to understand how the sulfate record, dominated by the volcanic signal, is altered through time. Ice core analysis has revealed that the sulfur signal diffuses with age (depth), but the diffusivity is not well constrained. It is also not clear what controls the process of diffusion. The Dome C core from interior East Antarctica will allow an improved analysis of the effective diffusivity because there are multiple glacial-interglacial cycles. By using the volcanic peaks identified in only similar climate periods (i.e. all interglacial periods or all glacial maximums), the variability in the deposition can be largely eliminated. The goal is for the student to have: determined the effective diffusivity of sulfate using multiple interglacial and glacial periods; gained experience performing scientific research; gained experience reading, interpreting, and communicating about scientific literature; gained a general understanding of ice-core science; gained skills in coding in Matlab; and aided the understanding of future deep ice core sites in Antarctica.

Inferred effective diffusivity is using interglacial (left) and glacial (right) periods are an order of magnitude slower than previously inferred.

Alexis Irvin (University of Florida): Modern climate of Hercules Dome, Antarctica

Graduate Student Advisor: Annika Horlings

Faculty Advisor: T.J. Fudge

Program: Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, Ecosystem Studies (CICOES)

Project Description: The goal of the project is to better understand the interannual variations in climate at Hercules Dome (-86S, 105W) a future deep ice core site. Determining how the accumulation rate over Hercules Dome has varied in space and time is therefore important for interpreting the ice core at Hercules Dome and for modeling past ice flow. The primary climate reanalysis used will be ERA5 monthly averages. Highly temporally resolved (up to daily) reanalysis data may be needed to analyze storm directions. The goal is for the student to have: produced images/animation of each year’s annual accumulation in ERA5 to allow a qualitative comparison with the accumulation measured with radar; performed correlations of climate variables; gained experience performing scientific research; gained experience reading, interpreting, and communicating about scientific literature; gained a general understanding of ice-core science and climate reanalysis; gained skills in coding in Matlab and analysis of climate reanalysis output such as ERA5; and aided the climatic understanding of a future deep ice core site in Antarctica.

Victoria Johnson (UW): Ice Quake Hunting at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide

Faculty Advisor: Brad Lipovsky

Program: Earth and Space Sciences Undergraduate Research

Project Description: Ice flow is like a lot of mini earthquakes and makes a lot of seismic noise. Observing and interpreting that noise is a challenge. This project seeks to find ice quakes in a location – an ice divide – where we do not expect them because of the low ice velocities. This research will help determine if ice quakes are being misidentified in faster flowing regions. The goal is for the student to have: applied algorithms for identifying ice quakes in seismic data ; gained experience performing scientific research; gained experience reading, interpreting, and communicating about scientific literature; gained skills in scientific computing; and aided the understanding of processes controlling ice flow in Antarctica.

Seismic section plot of a specific event found

2020 Projects

Linh Vu (UW): Determining effective diffusivity of sulfate using volcanic event widths

Faculty Advisor: T.J. Fudge

Program: Washington Space Grant Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Project Description: The goal of this project is to understand how the sulfate record, dominated by the volcanic signal, is altered through time. Ice core analysis has revealed that the sulfur signal diffuses with age (depth), but the diffusivity is not well constrained. It is also not clear what controls the process of diffusion. Using multiple ice cores, the spreading of the average width of volcanic events will be used to place constraints on the effective diffusivity. The goal is for the student to have: determined the effective diffusivity of sulfate using multiple ice cores; gained experience performing scientific research; gained experience reading, interpreting, and communicating about scientific literature; gained a general understanding of ice-core science; gained skills in coding in Matlab; and aided the understanding of future deep ice core sites in Antarctica.

The duration of volcanic events increased with age (depth) in the EDML ice core

2019 Project

Elizabeth Urban (UW): Upper limits of geothermal flux from Raymond Arches observed around Antarctica

Faculty Advisor: T.J. Fudge

Project Description: Geothermal flux is an important input parameter for modeling the Antarctic Ice Sheet and estimating future sea level changes. High geothermal flux results in basalt melt of an ice sheet, which increases water flow and allows sliding. Direct measurements of geothermal flux in Antarctica are rare, as the ice-bedrock interface is buried under hundreds to thousands of meters of ice. Raymond arches indicate a coastal dome is frozen at the bed and is a site that can be used to calculate maximum geothermal flux. The maximum geothermal flux is estimated by inputting site-specific data of ice thickness, accumulation rate and surface temperature into an ice-and-heat flow model for coastal domes. When a basal temperature is also available, the geothermal flux can be calculated. Sixteen coastal domes were modeled in this project. Geothermal flux was calculated for four sites and maximum geothermal flux was calculated for twelve sites. These results are compared against two continent-wide models of geothermal flux, based off Curie depths and seismic wave refraction. On Adelaide Island, the continental models do not agree, and this site-specific model returns a value in between their geothermal flux estimates, which suggests that the greater geothermal flux estimate is too high. In Dronning Maude Land, the site-specific maximum geothermal flux values are regionally consistent and indicate what site characteristics produce significant results. Sites with greater ice thicknesses, lower accumulation rates, and warmer surface temperatures yield lower maximum geothermal flux estimates, which are more useful in constraining the geothermal flux.

2018 Project

Surahbi Biyani (UW):

Constraining Geothermal Flux at Coastal Domes of the Ross Ice Sheet, Antarctica

Faculty Advisor: T.J. Fudge

Project Description:The geothermal flux is an important boundary condition for ice‐sheet models because it influences whether the ice is melting at the bed and able to slide. Point measurements and remotely sensed estimates vary widely for the Ross Ice Sheet. A basal temperature measurement at Roosevelt Island reveals a geothermal flux of 84 ± 13 mW/m2. The presence of Raymond Arches, which form only at ice divides that are frozen at the bed, allows inferences of the maximum geothermal flux at two coastal domes along the Siple Coast: Engelhardt Ridge, 85 ± 11 mW/m2 and Shabtaie Ridge, 75 ± 10 mW/m2. These measurements indicate heat flows similar to measurements at Siple Dome and the Whillans grounding zone and to the continental crust average. The high values measured at Subglacial Lake Whillans and estimated from satellite observations of Curie depths are not widespread.

Numerical modeling of the ice and heat flow helps determine the upper limit on the geothermal flux where the bed is known to be frozen