The research carried out under the Antarctic Gateway Partnership, will advance our understanding of a
climatically and ecologically important region, the Antarctic subpolar and shelf
seas, ice sheet and fringing ice shelves. The research is undertaken across four
themes. Each theme represents an
integrated, multi-disciplinary program of research:
- Theme 1 focuses specifically on the ice shelf-ocean processes looking at the under-ice shelf and on-ice shelf observations and processes of circulation and basal melt and integrating all of our understanding via numerical models (Projects 1.1 to 1.3).
- Theme 2 aims to better understand the ecological and biogeochemical consequences of changes in sea ice and upper ocean physics/chemistry in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean region. This theme is distinctive for its use of lab-based sea ice experiments to advance our understanding of the environmental controls on sea ice microbial foodwebs and the development of new sensors to study mesopelagic ecosystems (Projects 2.1 to 2.4).
- Theme 3 covers research on the interaction of the solid Earth and ice sheet, in particular the deformation of the solid Earth due to ice mass changes, an assessment of the geothermal heat flux emanating from the crust, linked with paleo ice sheet modelling (Projects 3.1 to 3.3).
- Theme 4 will develop new polar-capable, hybrid vehicles that have the ability to make unique measurements under ice (sea ice and ice shelves). Our aim is to develop a vehicle platform with world-standard capabilities for making measurements in polar regions. Links have been initiated with industry and international collaborators for future developments (Project 4.1). Additionally, this theme will, as part of enhancing Tasmania as a gateway to the Antarctic, initiate and develop a sea-ice charting and seasonal forecasting capability with end-user engagement (Project 4.2).