Understanding Ice: The James B. Case Memorial Symposium

Date and Time: April 24, 2018, 1:00pm to 5:00pm

Admission: The talks are free but require advance registration. Please register here.

Location: David Rumsey Map Center

Event Sponsors: Stanford Libraries, School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences

Description: Huge ice sheets cover Antarctica and Greenland. Glaciers and snowpack act as frozen reservoirs providing water for surrounding communities. We hear about ice when glaciers recede or ice sheets break off, but what are the processes governing these changes? What role does ice play in the behavior, evolution, and stability of the earth system? Three Stanford faculty will address these topics focusing on their cutting-edge research in the geology, geophysics, and modeling of ice.  Join Rob DunbarDustin Schroeder, and Jenny Suckale as they explain what is known about how ice works. This afternoon symposium is in honor of James B. Case (Stanford BS - Civil Engineering '50), a glacial surveyor, and expert in photogrammetry, who donated his glacier map collection to Stanford Libraries in 2017.

Schedule of Events

1:00 - 1:15pm: Welcoming remarks

1:15 - 1:45pm: "Mapping Ice"

Description: Western mapping has a long history of mapping glaciers and ice from the Abraham Ortelius Iceland map 1587 to the work of scientists using aerial photography, satellite imagery, and radar to map the surface and subsurface of Antarctica. This talk will focus on the changes in cartographic representation of glaciers and ice with examples from Stanford collections including the newly donated James B. Case Glacier Map Collection. 

Speaker: Julie Sweetkind-Singer is the subject specialist for maps and geospatial information systems data. In that role, she oversees purchasing of digital and paper maps as well as geospatial information. While she works directly with faculty and students to find and use these materials, much of her time is spent managing project work such as acquiring and cataloging collections of rare maps, fostering relationships with the map community to gain access to private collections for scanning purposes, and working with teams that create better ways to search, download, and use cartographic and spatial information.

1:45 - 2:15pm: "Glaciology 101” 

Description: An introduction to fundamentals and current state of cryospheric science 

Speakers: Dusty Schroeder & Rob Dunbar

2:15 - 2:45pm: "Ice Penetrating Radar: Looking into Ice Sheets"

Description: Ice penetrating radar is a powerful tool that can allow scientist to look beneath the icy surfaces. Professor Schroeder will present how this technology works and what it can teach us about the past, present, and future behavior of ice sheets and glaciers. He will also discuss how the same approached are being adapted to explore the icy moons of Jupiter.

Speaker: Dusty Schroeder is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geophysics. He is interested in the fundamental problem of observing, understanding, and predicting the behavior of ice and water in the earth system, particularly the role that subglacial water plays in the evolution and stability of continental ice sheets and their contribution to the rate of sea level rise. He is also interested in the development, use, and analysis of geophysical radar remote sensing systems that are optimized to observe hypothesis- specific phenomena, considering himself an instrument scientist and approaching problems from both an earth system science and radar system engineering perspective. By focusing on the flow of information and uncertainty through the entire process of instrument development, experimental design, data processing, analysis, and interpretation, Dusty draws upon a multidisciplinary set of tools to test system-scale and process-level hypotheses. 

2:45 - 3:15pm: Break

3:15 - 3:45pm: "Back to the Future: How Knowledge of Past Changes in the Antarctic Ice Sheet our View of the Greenhouse Future"

Description: Professor Dunbar will highlight new findings on the dynamic behaviour of Antarctica’s ice sheet in the past and what constraints these place on forward models of sea level and ice retreat at both poles.

Speaker: Rob Dunbar is the W.M. Keck Sr. Professor of Earth Sciences and a senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment. He and his lab are currently working on several projects in Antarctica to assess the impacts of climate change on Southern Ocean ecosystems and C-system chemistry. Much of this work focuses on the Ross Sea where they are studying the modern uptake of carbon dioxide by the ocean and the sensitivity of primary production to changes in nutrients, temperature, sea ice cover, and CO2. They also use sediment cores from fjords and shelf basins of East Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula to study past and changes in the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The Dunbar lab participated in the ANDRILL program as shore-based and field-based scientists exploring the history of Antarctic climate at Windless Bight (McMurdo Ice Shelf Drilling) and Southern McMurdo Sound, and Rob was also a proponent and participant on the recently completed IODP Expedition 318 to Wilkes Land, Antarctica.

3:45 - 4:30pm: Student posters and exhibit viewing

4:30 - 5:00pm: "Ice on slippery slopes: Understanding the processes that govern rapid ice loss from Antarctica"

Description: Satellite images of our ice sheets have challenged our understanding of ice sheet dynamics fundamentally. They show that instead of melting continuously along the edges, ice sheets lose most of their ice through arterial drainage routes, called ice streams, that connect the center of the ice-sheet directly to the ocean. In this talk, I will discuss the physical processes governing ice sheet dynamics and show that meltwater generation and percolation at the scale of individual sand grains can affect continental scale ice dynamics.

Speaker: Jenny Suckale is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geophysics. The goal of her research is to advance the basic understanding and predictive capabilities of complex multi-phase flows that are fundamental to Earth science. She pursues this goal by developing original computational methods customized for the problem at hand, ranging from the microscopic to the planetary scale and space a wide variety of geophysics systems such as volcanoes, glaciers, and magma oceans. In Antarctica, Jenny studies the thermal and fluid-dynamical processes that determine the width and flow speed of ice streams, exploring the hypothesis that the width of ice streams is controlled primarily by internal melting within the ice sheet margins.