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Fresh Off the Ice – In search of Antarctica’s chilling secrets

Professor Tina van de Flierdt and Dr Jim Marschalek will deliver the ESE Departmental Seminar on Thursday the 4th of April 2024: “Fresh Off the Ice – In search of Antarctica’s chilling secrets”

Join us in room G41 – RSM Building – on Thursday 4th of April 2024 at 12h15.


The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) rests on a bed below sea level, making it particularly vulnerable to ocean warming. West Antarctica is losing ice at an accelerating rate. If melted completely, it would raise sea level by up to five metres. But we fundamentally do not know whether this will happen with 1, 2 or 3 degrees of warming. Sediments deposited below the ice can help us answer this question. They work like a time machine and can tell us what Antarctica looked like under warmer conditions in the past.

But here comes the challenge: The best location to figure out how West Antarctica will react to warmer temperatures is literally in the middle of nowhere, 800 km away from the next base station. How does one go about doing science in such a remote location? And what does it feel like to live for weeks in a tent on the ice with outside temperatures around -10 degrees?

We will share pictures, videos and impression from the first field season of the SWAIS 2C project, targeting ‘the discovery for our lifetime’. There will also be an extended Q&A session.

About the speakers

Tina van de Flierdt is the Head of the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial. Beyond her interest in Antarctic ice sheet history and future sea level rise, her research addresses topics such as pollution, climate, and ocean circulation – now and in the past.

Jim Marschalek is a Postdoctoral Research Associate working with Tina on reconstructing Antarctic ice sheet history using sedimentary records, with an interest in combining these records with ice sheet modelling and subglacial geology. He also completed his Ph.D. with Tina at Imperial.

Event details

Event date:
April 4, 2024