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Preparing for Seven Weeks at Sea

The icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer, our home for the next seven weeks, docked at the pier in Hobart, Tasmania.
The icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer, our home for the next seven weeks, docked at the pier in Hobart, Tasmania.

For our spring expedition, NBP1503, to the margin of East Antarctica we will live and work on board the United States icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer. Together we are eight scientists, 10 science support staff and 19 crew members of the ship’s crew. As of today, March 22, all cargo and food for the journey has been loaded on the ship and tomorrow we are filling up the gas tank, which will take 10 to12 hours! After that we will start our journey south from Hobart, Tasmania to the coast of East Antarctica.

During the cruise I’ll study the vulnerability of East Antarctic ice streams to warm ocean water incursions and if this action is already responsible for the observed thinning of the ice sheet. Also on board the Palmer for this expedition are researchers from Australia’s University of Tasmania — you’ll find more information about our cruise and their research in this press release.

Follow Frank Nitsche on Twitter for more frequent updates from the Southern Ocean.

Science for the Planet: In these short video explainers, discover how scientists and scholars across the Columbia Climate School are working to understand the effects of climate change and help solve the crisis.
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