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Dynamics of the Antarctic ice cap and climate changes (a contribution to EPICA)

More:  Institutes 
Parent project: Research action SPSD-I: Sustainable management of the North Sea, more
Reference no: A4/DD/E03
Period: December 1996 till November 2001
Status: Completed

Thesaurus terms: Drilling; Ice caps; Ocean-ice-atmosphere system; Sea level changes
Geographical term: Antarctica [Marine Regions]

Institutes (2)  Top 
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel; Centrum voor Cartografie en GIS (CCG), more
  • Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO), more, sponsor

Deep ice drillings, both in Greenland and in the Antarctic, constitute unique archives not only with regard to the history of the world´s climate but in particular for the evolution of the ice caps and the variations in sea level associated with them.

With the EPICA project, the European Community is striving to make a fundamental contribution to better understanding this problematic, on the basis of two deep drillings in the Antarctic. It is primarily the deep drilling at Dronning Maud Land which should make it possible to study the climate-ice cap-sea level relationship, especially in the Atlantic sector. This Atlantic sector is important because of the fast and radical variations observed in the northern part (Summit, Greenland) and because of its relevance for Europe. In order to develop a coherent picture of the history of the climate and the physical environment, it is necessary to link the direct data coming from the deep drilling with, firstly, atmospheric circulation and, secondly, with the dynamics of the ice cap.

This research project primarily aims to make a contribution to this latter aspect of EPICA, by using numerical modelisation and acquiring data via remote sensing and own ground observations.


1. Study of the regional behaviour of the Antarctic ice cap:

a. Specific function of the marginal processes (processes at the base of the cap, ice-ocean interactions, dynamics of the grounding-line, etc.)

b. Role of the continental ice flows in the stability of the ice cap.

2. Implications of the marginal processes for the environment of the future EPICA drilling site and for interpretation of the EPICA signal.

3. Reconstruction of the glacial history of the ice cap in Dronning Maud Land (climate - ice cap - ocean relationship) at the end of the Cenozoic.

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