Researchers to Study Glacier-Drift Phenomenon Using Wireless Sensors

Leverhulme Trust offered a Research Project Grant to the University of Southampton scientists for carrying out investigation on the drifting phenomenon of the glaciers.

An award of £284,612 has been presented to Dr Kirk Martinez from the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) and Jane Hart, Professor at the School of Geography for executing research work on the 'stick-slip' movement of the glaciers, since it has an impact on Iceland-based Skalafellsjökull glacier. Very few studies have been carried out on the glacier’s 'stick-slip' phenomenon that drifts the ice sheets during the glacier sliding process.

According to Hart, there were several logistical issues in examining the glacial and sub-glacial conditions and previously it was believed that the glaciers moved gradually and constantly. He explained that there were proven evidences which indicate the process of occasional glacier drifting and can be represented in a way identical to that of the stick-slip motion which leads to earthquakes.

In order to monitor the ‘stick’ phenomenon, the scientists have devised an advanced multi-sensor wireless probe which they have fabricated for the Glacsweb project that utilized the wireless probe for the first time in the world for monitoring the in-situ bottom-floor glacial processes in the Norway-oriented Briksdalsbreen glacier.

The researchers will be studying the ‘slip’ phase of the glaciers with the help of accelerometers and GPS integrated on the surface of the glaciers.

Dr Martinez stated that this crucial research work will provide insights into the basic glacier dynamics by using wireless sensor grids and that the Environmental Sensor Networks will furnish a specific mode for investigating the property of glacial drift and its related characteristics. He added that the unique Glacsweb technology will help in resolving novel scientific issues.

The duration of this project is for three years and the significant information gathered as a part of it will be relayed to a UK-based server through mobile phone connectivity and will be released in the internet.


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