A Science Management Office for the United States Component of the International Trans Antarctic Expedition (US ITASE SMO)
– A Collaborative Program of Research from Taylor Dome to South Pole
    Duration: March 2005 – February 2008
Principle Investigators: P.A. Mayewski and G. S. Hamilton


This proposal is the lead proposal for a series of collaborative science proposals that are all related to US ITASE. It includes a description of the basic objectives, science administration, and logistics for several science proposals that will be submitted to OPP as part of US ITASE. For detailed information concerning these individual science research proposals reviewers are requested to examine the actual science proposals.
This proposal requests support from the Office of Polar Programs for:

  1. A continuation of the highly successful US ITASE field operation platform during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 field seasons so that US ITASE can undertake a series of scientific objectives in the region from Taylor Dome to South Pole (NVL-SP). These new activities, in combination with 1999-2003 US ITASE activities, and in cooperation with activities conducted by Italian, French, and Australian ITASE traverses, will provide US ITASE scientific coverage for the entire Ross Sea Embayment and portions of Wilkes Land.
  2. A continuation of the US ITASE SMO (one 33% time staff position plus limited hourly support) for purposes of assisting in the planning, organization of science and logistics, and organization of final products resulting from the proposed 2005-2007 activities.
  3. Traverse route selection utilizing satellite imagery, included in the West Antarctic US ITASE traverses as a separate proposal to G.S. Hamilton, and now included as part of US ITASE SMO (1 month for GSH plus 3 months for a graduate student).
  4. Operational crevasse detection using ground penetrating radar during field activities. This function was provided by S.A. Arcone under separate funding, during the West Antarctic phase of US ITASE operations, but is now included in this proposal because it is required by several of the US ITASE research components.

Intellectual Merit:

US ITASE is the terrestrial equivalent of a polar research vessel. It offers the ground-based opportunities of traditional style oversnow travel coupled with the modern technology of GPS navigation, crevasse detecting radar, satellite communications, and multi-disciplinary research. By operating as a ground-based transport system US ITASE offers scientists the opportunity to experience the dynamic environment they are studying. US ITASE also provides a stimulating interactive venue for research similar to that afforded by oceanographic research vessels and large polar field camps, without the cost of the former or the lack of mobility of the latter. More importantly the combination of disciplines represented by US ITASE provides a unique, logistically efficient, multi-dimensional (x, y, z and time) view of the atmosphere, the ice sheet and their histories. US ITASE SMO activities in West Antarctica included the successful integration of 11 science programs. The US ITASE traverse team reached South Pole Station at the end of the 2002-2003 field season, concluding SMO operation and field activities for the initial four season sampling of West Antarctica.

Broader Impacts:

ITASE has as its primary objective the understanding of Antarctic climate (e.g., accumulation rate, air temperature, atmospheric circulation), and environmental (eg., sea ice extent, atmospheric chemistry) variability over the last 200 years, and where possible longer. US ITASE goals include the ITASE primary objective (although typically records in the 200-1000 year and longer range are collected). In addition, US ITASE scientific objectives include those from a variety of additional disciplines, because the US ITASE logistics platform is designed to accommodate interactive research programs such as: meteorology, remote sensing, surface glaciology, geophysics, ice core glaciology, dynamical glaciology, atmospheric chemistry, and glacial geology. Data collected by US ITASE and its international ITASE partners is available to a broad scientific community. US ITASE has an extensive program of public outreach and provides significant opportunities for many students to experience multi-disciplinary Antarctic research.

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