State of the Planet

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Kirsty Tinto: Mapping on and under Antarctica’s Ice


Kirsty Tinto flies aboard a specially equipped airplane in very cold places to study ice sheets and ice shelves. She’s an associate research scientist in the polar geophysics group at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. In this video, she talks about the Rosetta Project, in which she and a team of researchers are looking at the huge Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. They use a Lamont-designed instrument pod, “about the size of a sofa,” attached to the side of the airplane, to measure the ice surface, the underlying structure of the ice and the topography of the underlying seafloor. The work helps them understand how the ice and the ocean and the land interact, and how stable are the ice sheets that flow off the continent.

The New York Times has produced an in-depth, multimedia series, “Racing to Find Answers in the Ice,” highlighting the work of Tinto and other Lamont scientists in Antarctica, and the Rosetta Project in particular. You can check out the Times’ series here.

This is the latest in a continuing series on people at the Earth Institute, what they do and why they do it. For more in the series, look here.

Video by the Columbia News Video Team. This post was updated on May 22, 2017.

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Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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