This award provides partial support for "Support for the IGS/FRISP Symposium on Interactions of Ice Sheets and Glaciers with the Ocean" to be held in June 2011. The workshop will bring together U.S. and international researchers to discuss the topic of ice/ocean interactions for a one week period and will take place at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Promoting interdisciplinary research on this topic is important because most of the current mass loss from ice sheets is occurring in areas where the ice sheet interacts with the ocean. The hope is to bring together modelers, glaciologists, oceanographers, geologists, and outreach specialists. The two overarching goals of the workshop are to 1) assess the state of knowledge of ice-ocean interactions; and 2) to discuss what is needed for development of reliable, quantitative models of ice sheet evolution.

Intellectual Merit: The ocean has a profound influence on the ice sheets and tidewater glaciers and it is becoming increasingly clear that to understand how the ice sheet system will evolve we need to better understand ice-ocean interaction processes. By hosting the forum at an oceanographic institution the hope is to foster strong links between the oceanographic and glaciological communities of researchers.

Broader Impact: The topic has broad societal relevance because of the link between loss of land ice and global sea-level rise. Funds provided by this award will support graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and early career scientists. There will also be outreach activities with local California schools to engage the K-12 population in topical scientific research. Understanding ice-ocean interactions is a key component of being able to predict future climate change scenarios.

Funds provided by the NSF will only be used to support US scientists, with the specific focus being to provide partial support for early career scientists and outreach specialists. Inclusion of early career scientists and students in the presentation and discussion of a necessarily interdisciplinary, integrated, and truly cutting edge area of Antarctic science will be extremely valuable in training the next generation of Antarctic researchers. Outcome from the meeting will include a symposium volume that is likely to be a very valuable research compendium for future work.

Project Report

. The Symposium was held at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) in La Jolla, from 5-10 June 2011, in the new Scripps Seaside Forum, an extraordinary, oceanfront conference center facility located in the heart of SIO, with a breathtaking view over the Pacific Ocean. The theme for the symposium was "Interaction of glaciers and ice sheets with the ocean". Ice-ocean interaction is a vital topic for cryospheric studies, since most of the mass loss from the ice sheets occurs in the floating parts. The mass balance of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets and the circulation of the adjacent oceans are strongly coupled through physical processes occurring at the ice-ocean interfaces at the fronts and bases of ice shelves and glacier tongues, and the termini of tidewater glaciers. Improved understanding of these processes is essential so that they can be realistically represented in models of how ice sheets and glaciers would evolve in a changing climate, and to improve predictions of global ocean circulation and sea level change. The goals of this symposium were to: (1) assess the state of our knowledge of ice-ocean interactions; and (2) discuss what is needed for development of reliable, quantitative models of ice sheet evolution. The IGS Symposium was an enormous success, with 194 delegates from almost 20 countries. A poem describing the weeks’ activities was written by IGS President Douglas MacAyeal, and published in the IGS newsletter "ICE"; it is included with this report. The NSF Award supported a school outreach event and travel support for students and postdocs, as detailed below. The award covered funds for an outreach event coordinated by Susan Kelly of the WISSARD project; ~100 students from Emerald Middle School, as a STEM magnet school located in El Cajon, California, participated in an inquiry-based afternoon of science. The students were treated to opening remarks from Drs. Ross Powell and Helen Fricker, and then participated in three hands on activities directed by Scripps graduate students (including Matthew Siegfried, Fernando Paolo, Lucas Beem and Anais Orsi) and post-doctoral scientists (including Sasha Carter and Knut Christianson), included hands-on interactions with blubber gloves, glacial goo, and first-hand experience with the Antarctica Extreme Cold Weather gear. The students enjoyed interaction with "real scientists". The student population at Emerald Middle school is comprised of a large immigrant population. A large percentage of students were Chaldean and Hispanic, so materials were provided in Arabic, Spanish and English. The visit was coordinated through Nancy Taylor of the San Diego Country Office for Education. The award paid for their bus transportation and travel for Susan Kelly, WISSARD Education and Outreach Coordinator and Louise Huffman, ANDRILL Education and Outreach Coordinator. We also offered travel support (airfare, per diem and lodging) for the IGS Symposium; this opportunity was announced widely using listservs and advertised on the Symposium website. We were able to support to 10 postgraduate students (4 female, 6 male) and 2 postdoctoral scholars (both male). Papers from the symposium were published in the Annals of Glaciology 53(60), available online:

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Polar Programs (PLR)
Standard Grant (Standard)
Application #
Program Officer
Lisa Clough
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California-San Diego Scripps Inst of Oceanography
La Jolla
United States
Zip Code