The Larsen Ice Shelf Expedition
In December 2007, a team of explorers will set off on a five-week expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula, where they will traverse the Larsen Ice Shelf and Weddell Sea by skis, sea kayak, and sailboat.
The Larsen Ice Shelf expedition team will conduct studies examining how global warming is changing the topography of the seventh continent and how those changes could have dramatic impacts on the world's oceans.
The Larsen Ice Shelf Expedition is the culmination of Expeditions Council grantee Jon Bowermaster's Oceans Eight project. Oceans Eight is a long term project exploring the world's oceans by sea kayak. This mode of travel allowed Jon and his teams to reach corners of the world rarely seen. The goal of each expedition is adventure crossed with exploration of local cultures, histories, environmental issues and the future of these varied regions.
In many ways, Antarctica is the planet's great thermostat, driving climate with its cycles of freeze and thaw. A 7-million-square-mile (18-million-square-kilometer) ring of ice forms around the continent each winter, and each summer it thaws, releasing trillions of tons of fresh water into the oceans. This melt and release affects ocean current circulation, redistributes the heat of the sun, and regulates climate, affecting the planet's weather—and our lives—at the most fundamental level.
Today global warming is rapidly changing Antarctica's landscape, and with it, our climate. Global warming is thought to have spurred the dramatic destruction of the 500-billion-ton Larsen-B ice shelf in March 2002. Peninsular ice shelves like Larsen-B mark early warning signs of global warming in the Antarctic.
By glimpsing what remains of the Larsen Ice Shelf and bringing back dramatic stories, photos, and video of this fast-evolving region of Antarctica, the team will provide an up-close look at one of the planet's most at-risk environments.
Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7)