Brian Romans to sail on IODP Exp 374 to study West Antarctic Ice Sheet history

I’m very excited to announce that I will be participating as a shipboard scientist on International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 374. This expedition leaves Christchurch, New Zealand on January 4th and will spend several weeks in the Ross Sea, offshore western Antarctica.

Here is a detailed description of the scientific objectives of this expedition (copied from the expedition webpage):

The Ross Sea West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) History Expedition will investigate the relationship between climatic/oceanic change and WAIS evolution through the Neogene and Quaternary. Numerical models indicate that this region is highly sensitive to changes in ocean heat flux and sea level, making it a key target to understand past ice sheet variability under a range of climatic forcings. The proposed drilling is designed to optimize data-model integration for improved understanding of Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance during climates warmer than present. Core and log data from a transect of six sites from the outer continental shelf to rise in the eastern Ross Sea will be used to: (1) evaluate WAIS contribution to far-field ice volume and sea level estimates; (2) reconstruct ice proximal atmospheric and oceanic temperatures to identify periods of past polar amplification and assess forcings/feedbacks; (3) assess the role of oceanic forcing (e.g., sea level, temperature) on WAIS instability; (4) document WAIS sensitivity to Earth’s orbital configuration under varying climate boundary conditions; and (5) reconstruct eastern Ross Sea bathymetry to examine relationships among seafloor geometry, ice sheet instability, and global climate.

I am thrilled to be participating in this exciting expedition and looking forward to expanding the scope of the Sedimentary Systems Research group into ice sheet and glacially influenced marine sedimentary processes as well as investigating paleoceanographic records of the Miocene and Pliocene.

I will be posting to this site throughout the expedition, so stay tuned for updates from the JOIDES Resolution.