The expedition to the Ross Ice Shelf
in question was started two months ago back in November last year, where the team boarded a ski-mounted Twin Otter aircraft that ferried them some 220 miles to the massive slab of ice and snow floating in the ocean, just hanging precariously off the coastline of West Antarctica.
These observations can then guide computer models to predict how the Ross Ice Shelf
and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will change as our climate warms.
A team from Cambridge University spent several years investigating how the Ross Ice Shelf
's north-west sector interacted with the ocean beneath it.
The Ross Ice Shelf
is Antarctica's largest ice shelf, a Texas-sized plate of glacial ice fed from the icy continent's interior that floats atop the Southern Ocean.
Measuring 4200 square miles, it came off the Ross Ice Shelf
in 2000 and fragments of it passed New Zealand six years later.
In 2000, the biggest iceberg recorded broke off the Ross ice shelf
and was about the size of Jamaica at 11,000 square kms.
Reportedly, the five payloads took flight from a balloon launch site on Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf
near McMurdo Station with support from the National Science Foundation's US Antarctic Programme.
(1) Her recent work is based on the Ross Ice Shelf
In late November Peter departed to the field with one of two parties working between the Byrd and the Nimrod, two huge outlet glaciers feeding into the Ross Ice Shelf
. Peter was the assistant surveyor in the north party, while Wally was the surveyor for the south party.
Speaking by satellite phone at the armpit edge of the Ross Ice Shelf
in January, the professor from Northern Illinois University described what he and colleagues saw when they stuck a remote-controlled submarine a half mile under the ice to look at the leading underground edge of one of Antarctica's melting ice sheets.
The teammates have covered 900 miles along the Ross Ice Shelf
, traversed the Beardmore Glacier and crossed the Antarctic Plateau to the South Pole in 63 days, enduring temperatures of as low as minus 46 degrees Centigrade in 24-hour daylight.
We could not replicate that journey of six months from Oslo to Whalers Bay at the Ross Ice Shelf
, where Amundsen set up his base camp, Framheim.