Belgian researchers prepare to spend Christmas in Antarctica
Thursday, 22 November 2018
A team of researchers from Belgian and U.S. universities will leave on 1 December for Antarctica, where they will spend a month and a half studying climate-related changes over the past few years, the participating institutions announced on Thursday in a press release. The team comprises researchers in glaciology and climatology from the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) and University of Colorado, along with partners from the Royal Meteorological Institute (IRM) and the Delft University of Technology.
The researchers will study the way snowfall is distributed in the area between Princess Elisabeth Station and the coast of the icy continent, and how snow accumulates on its surface.
Snow is one of the components of the mass balance of the Antarctic ice cap. Any modification of that balance has a global impact on sea levels. This is of crucial importance since the Southern Ocean is a huge buffer “that reduces the impact on climate of human induced perturbations,” UCL climatology professor Hugues Goosse said on the blog launched by the mission’s researchers.
“In particular the Southern Ocean stores large amounts of heat, acting as a kind of air conditioning system that tends to dampen the global warning at the surface,” he explained.
Throughout the mission, the researchers will feed information into the blog, where they will present their scientific campaign in a didactic manner and relate their travel anecdotes. The blog can be viewed at https://www.bel-antar2018.be.