Antarctic sea ice is a powerful climate regulator. At maximum seasonal growth, it forms a frozen solar reflector that covers 90% of the Southern Ocean. This seasonal growth also drives the global ocean conveyor belts through thermohaline circulation, Antarctic bottom-water formed in the region constituting between 30 and 40 % of the entire global ocean mass. These two colossal processes are foundations of the entire climate system and regulate the surface energy balance of the planet. Consequently, understanding change within this system is of critical importance given the far reaching effects of the poles on the global climate system. Sea ice extent, area and drift are routinely monitored by satellite in the Southern Ocean but very little is known about its thickness.
Sea ice research at Gateway Antarctica focuses on measuring sea ice thickness accurately from spaceborne and airborne sensors.
Additional research interests include ice sheet and ice shelf mass balance investigation and crevasse detection using satellite remote sensing techniques.