INSPIRE: Investigating the Role of Mesoscale Processes and Ice Dynamics in Carbon and Iron Fluxes in a Changing Amundsen Sea
Figure 1: The Amundsen Sea in Dec.2010 (Austral summer). Green shading is the surface chlorophyll from numerical simulations conducted at Old Dominion University (OPP-1443657) and represents algae growing inside ice-free regions (aka "polynyas"). Gray background represents sea ice (ice floating at surface of water) and glacial ice (part of the Antarctic ice sheet) from a satellite (MODIS/NSIDC). North is upward in the figure. ASP: Amundsen Sea Polynya. DIS: Dotson Ice Shelf. CIS: Crosson Ice Shelf. TLT: Thwaites Landfast ice Tongue. B-22A: Large iceberg that calved from the TGT. TGT: Thwaites Glacier Tongue. TIS: Thwaites Ice Shelf. PIP: Pine Island Polynya. PIG: Pine Island Glacier.
What is INSPIRE?
This NSF-funded project (PLR-1443657) unites independent, state-of-the-art modeling and field data synthesis efforts to address important unanswered questions about carbon fluxes and iron supply in a key region of the coastal Antarctic. The Amundsen Sea Polynya (ASP), in the remote South Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean, features 1) large intrusions of modified Circumpolar Deep Water (mCDW) onto the continental shelf, 2) the fastest melting ice shelves in Antarctica, 3) the most productive coastal polynya (161 g C/m2) and a large atmospheric CO2 sink, and 4) some of the most rapid declines in seasonal sea ice on Earth. Following on the heels of a highly successful oceanographic field program, the Amundsen Sea Polynya International Research Expedition (ASPIRE; which sampled the ASP with high spatial resolution during the onset of the enormous phytoplankton bloom of 2011 ), the project represents a collaboration between ASPIRE senior scientists and an experienced team of physical and a biogeochemical modelers who can use ASPIRE field data to both validate and extend the capabilities of an existing Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS, ) for the Amundsen Sea . This new effort will add biology and biogeochemistry (including features potentially unique to the ASP region) to an existing physical model, allowing us to address key questions about bloom mechanisms that could not be answered by field campaigns or modeling alone. This project is expected to generate new insights and hypotheses that will ultimately guide sampling strategies of future field efforts investigating how present and future climate change impacts this important region of the world.
This project addresses two main categories of NSF's Merit Review Broader Impacts Criterion: 1) "improved STEM education and educator development" and 2) "development of a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce". Advanced pedagogical techniques will be used to provide educational outreach for three distinct target populations: secondary students, preservice science teachers, and inservice science teachers. Partnerships will be developed with science teacher educators to implement the STEM careerdevelopment lessons in undergraduate and graduate level science teacher education courses. The project also supports graduate education and includes a mentoring plan for an early career scientist supported by the project (St-Laurent, lead PI, who obtained his Ph.D. in 2010). Senior members of the team will meet with St-Laurent once a month virtually and twice a year in person to provide scientific and technical supervision. This is an important step in his development as an independent scientist.
INSPIRE is a collaborative effort between East Carolina University (ECU), Old Dominion University (ODU), Rutgers University, University of Colorado and University of Georgia (UGA). The project involves D.Dickerson (ECU), M.Dinniman, E.Hofmann and P.St-Laurent (ODU), R.Sherrell (Rutgers), S.Stammerjohn (U.Col.), and P.Yager (UGA).
Please contact P.St-Laurent (firstname.lastname@example.org) for inquiries about the project.
Acknowledgment and Disclaimer
This material on this web page is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1443657. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
The Amundsen Sea
Figure 2: (a) Summer chlorophyll climatology for 2002-2013 (shading) in the Southern Ocean (GSFC 2014a) showing higher concentrations on the continental shelves (the scale saturates at 3 mg/m3. The black box is the Amundsen Sea (AS). The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC, black arrow) is bounded by the Sub-Antarctic Front (SAF, outer black line) and the Southern Boundary of the ACC (SBACC, Orsi et al. 1995, inner black line). (b) The Amundsen Sea Model (ASM, St-Laurent et al. 2015) domain with the main ice shelves labeled. The Amundsen Sea Polynya (ASP) is represented with the climatological 15% sea ice concentration line for the month of January (red contour line; from AMSR-E). GIS is Getz Ice Shelf, DIS is Dotson Ice Shelf, CIS is Crosson Ice Shelf, TGT is Thwaites Glacier Tongue, TIS is Thwaites Ice Shelf, PIG is Pine Island Glacier, TIT, is Thwaites Iceberg Tongue, TLT is Thwaites Landfast Tongue, DT is Dotson Trough, CT is Central Trough, MBB is Mid-Bay Bank, ET is Eastern Trough. The topography is from Millan et al.  and from RTopo-2.0.1 . The model horizontal resolution is 1.5 km everywhere over the domain to explicitly resolve the mesoscales.
Figure 3: Simulated conditions at the onset of the algal bloom (Nov.1, 2010; year of the ASPIRE cruise). (Top left) Sea ice concentration, (Top right) surface nitrate concentration, (Bottom left) surface particulate organic nitrogen concentration, (Bottom right) surface dissolved iron concentration. For best results, download the video (.ogv, .mp4) and play it from your device.
Figure 4: Numerical tracer representing Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) intruding over the continental shelf of the Amundsen Sea (Right-click on this link and select "Save File As" to download a video). The tracer is initialized to 1000ppt offshelf where potential temperatures are greater than 0.7C. The video illustrates the pathways and timescales associated with the circulation of CDW (and its associated iron) on the shelf. The model topography is from Millan et al.  and RTopo-2.0.1 .
Figure 5: Simulated bottom ocean temperature and ice shelf basal melt. Temperature is for Dec.2013 while the basal melt represents an average over years 2006-2013. The model topography is from Millan et al.  and RTopo-2.0.1 . The main ice shelves are labeled.
Figure 6: Extract from the educational booklet developed in collaboration with local artists and STEM educators (Carl Twarog being the illustrator). The booklet is being implemented in schools and its efficiency evaluated by STEM specialist D.Dickerson.
Figure 7: The magazine Research Features recently interviewed co-PI Patricia Yager about the INSPIRE project. This led to an article communicating the project's goals and results to a general audience.
Presentations and manuscripts
Presentations, manuscripts and datasets from/related to INSPIRE:
St-Laurent, P., P.L. Yager, R.M. Sherrell, H. Oliver, M.S. Dinniman and S.E. Stammerjohn, Modeling the seasonal cycle of iron and carbon fluxes in the Amundsen Sea Polynya, Antarctica, manuscript submitted.
Oliver, H., P. St-Laurent, R.M. Sherrell and P.L. Yager, Modeling iron and light controls on the summer Phaeocystis antarctica bloom in the Amundsen Sea Polynya, manuscript submitted.
Oliver, H., P. St-Laurent, R.M. Sherrell, P.L. Yager, Controls on summer phytoplankton blooms in a highly productive Antarctic coastal polynya, Abstract OS34B-06 accepted at 2018 Fall Meeting (AGU), Washington DC, December 10-14, 2018.
Yager, P.L., P. St-Laurent, H. Oliver, R.M. Sherrell, S.E. Stammerjohn, M.S. Dinniman, High-resolution numerical ocean model illustrates how ice-sheet ocean interactions impact the biological pump of an Antarctic coastal polynya, Abstract C12B-07 accepted at 2018 Fall Meeting (AGU), Washington DC, Washington DC, December 10-14, 2018.
Dinniman, M.S., P. St-Laurent, K.R. Arrigo, E.E. Hofmann, G. van Dijken, Direct and indirect contributions of the cryosphere to micronutrient supply to the open surface waters around Antarctica, Abstract C21C-0370 accepted at 2018 Fall Meeting (AGU), Washington DC, December 10-14, 2018.
Schwans, E., B.R. Parizek, R.B. Alley, D. Pollard, M. Morlighem, R.T. Walker, T. LaBirt, H. Seroussi and P. St-Laurent, Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) studies of controls on stability of Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers, West Antarctica, Abstract C31C-0515 accepted at 2018 Fall Meeting (AGU), Washington DC, December 10-14, 2018.
Oliver, H., P. St-Laurent, R.M. Sherrell and P.L. Yager, Controls on marine primary productivity in a coastal polynya receiving large iron inputs from melting West Antarctic ice shelves, presentation at the 2018 WAIS workshop, Stony Point NY, Sep. 16-20, 2018.
Yager, P.L., P. St-Laurent, H. Oliver, R.M. Sherrell, S.E. Stammerjohn and M.S. Dinniman, Hi-res model illustrates how melting ice impacts coastal carbon cycle, presentation at the 2018 WAIS workshop, Stony Point NY, Sep. 16-20, 2018.
Schwans, E., B.R. Parizek, R.B. Alley, D. Pollard, M. Morlighem, H. Seroussi, P. St-Laurent, Bed character of Thwaites Glacier: Implications for stability, presentation at the 2018 WAIS workshop, Stony Point NY, September 16-19, 2018.
Oliver, H., P. St-Laurent, R.M. Sherrell, P.L. Yager, Does light or iron control the Amundsen Sea Polynya phytoplankton bloom?, presentation at the Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry Summer Workshop, Woods Hole MA, June 25-28, 2018.
Dinniman, M., P. St-Laurent, K. Arrigo, E. Hofmann, J. Klinck, R.M. Sherrell, S. Stammerjohn and P.L. Yager, Ice shelf meltwater pump contribution to vertical exchange around Antarctica, 2018 SCAR/IASC Open Science Conference, Davos, Switzerland, June 15-26, 2018.
St-Laurent, P., E.E. Hofmann, P.L. Yager, R.M. Sherrell and S.E. Stammerjohn (2017), Numerical model simulating the sea ice and ocean conditions in the Amundsen Sea over the period Jan.1, 2006 to Dec.31, 2013 (INSPIRE project). Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO), dataset version 2017-08-30, http://lod.bco-dmo.org/id/dataset/729546.
Oliver, H., P. St-Laurent, R.M. Sherrell and P.L. Yager, What controls the massive phytoplankton bloom in the Amundsen Sea Polynya?, presentation at the 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Portland OR, Feb.11-16, 2018.
Dinniman, M.S., P. St-Laurent, K.R. Arrigo, E.E. Hofmann, J.M. Klinck, R.M. Sherrell, S.E. Stammerjohn and P.L. Yager, The ice shelf meltwater pump contribution to vertical exchange over the open shelf in the Amundsen Sea and elsewhere around Antarctica, presentation at the 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Portland OR, Feb.11-16, 2018.
Sherrell, R.M., P.L. Yager, P. St-Laurent, M.S. Dinniman, S.E. Stammerjohn, M. Lagerstrom and K.M. Harazin, High iron in outflow waters from the Dotson Ice Shelf cavity, Amundsen Sea, West Antarctica: Is glacial meltwater really the source?, presentation at the 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Portland OR, Feb.11-16, 2018.
Schwans, E., B. Parizek, M. Morlighem, R.B. Alley, D. Pollard, R.T. Walker, P. Lin, P. St-Laurent, T. LaBirt and H. Seroussi. Simulating ice dynamics in the Amundsen Sea sector, presentation at the 2017 AGU Fall meeting, New Orleans LA, Dec. 11-15, 2017.
Yager, P.L., P. St-Laurent, R.M. Sherrell, M.S. Dinniman and S.E. Stammerjohn, `Meltwater pump' mechanism directly links the extreme Amundsen Sea phytoplankton bloom to the melting ice shelf, presentation at the 2017 WAIS meeting, Coupeville WA, Oct. 8-11, 2017.
St-Laurent, P., P.L. Yager, R.M. Sherrell, S.E. Stammerjohn and M.S. Dinniman (2017), Pathways and supply of dissolved iron in the Amundsen Sea (Antarctica), J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 122(9), p.7135-7162, doi:10.1002/2017jc013162, preprint.
Oliver, H., P. St-Laurent, R.M. Sherrell, P.L. Yager, Physical and biological controls on phytoplankton blooms in the Amundsen Sea Polynya, presentation at the 2017 International Goldschmidt Conference, Paris (France), August 13-18, 2017.
St-Laurent, P. and M.S.Dinniman, Ice shelf melt-driven circulation of the deep layers in the Amundsen Sea, Antarctica, poster presentation at the 31st Forum for Research into Ice Shelf Processess (FRISP) workshop, Bergen (Norway), June 19-22, 2017
Dinniman, M.S., P. St-Laurent, E. Hofmann, J.M. Klinck, S. Mack, 2017. How the cryosphere may affect iron supply to Antarctic phytoplankton blooms, The Southern Ocean Workshop: Its dynamics, biogeochemistry and role in the climate system, Boulder CO, April 10-13, 2017.
Sherrell, R., et al., How natural iron fertilization works in productive west Antarctic shelf regions, invited seminar at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades NY, April 7, 2017
St-Laurent, P. Physical drivers of the highly-productive Amundsen Sea Polynya (Antarctica), invited presentation for the 2017 OEAS Seminar Series, Old Dominion University, Norfolk VA, April 6, 2017.
Oliver, H., P. St-Laurent, R.M. Sherrell and P.L. Yager, 2017. What makes a bloom in the Amundsen Sea Polynya? A 1-D biogeochemical modeling perspective, Gordon Research Conference on Polar Marine Science, Ventura CA, March 26-31, 2017.
St-Laurent, P., M.S. Dinniman, E.E. Hofmann, R.M. Sherrell, S.E. Stammerjohn and P.L. Yager, 2016, Variability of physical parameters influencing the bloom of the most productive Antarctic coastal polynya (Amundsen Sea Polynya), presentation at the 2016 WAIS workshop, Sterling, VA, Oct.3-6, 2016.
Yager, P.L., P. St-Laurent, R.M. Sherrell, H. Oliver, M.S. Dinniman, S.E. Stammerjohn, 2016, Melting ice enhances coastal biological productivity, presentation at the 2016 WAIS workshop, Sterling, VA, Oct.3-6, 2016.
St-Laurent, P., M.S. Dinniman, E.E. Hofmann, R. Sherrell, S. Stammerjohn, P. Yager, and E. Randall-Goodwin, Transport pathways of nutrients in the Amundsen Sea, Antarctica, Oral presentation at the 2016 Ocean Sciences meeting, Feb. 21-26, 2016, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Yager, P., Climate-sensitive carbon cycling on the western Antarctic continental shelf: results from the Amundsen Sea Polynya International Research Expedition (ASPIRE), poster presentation at the 2016 Ocean Sciences meeting, Feb. 21-26, 2016, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Linquan Mu, Investigating the Role of Mesoscale Processes and Ice Dynamics in Carbon and Iron Fluxes in a Changing Amundsen Sea (INSPIRE), poster presentation at the 2016 Ocean Sciences meeting, Feb. 21-26, 2016, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Yager, P.L, H. Oliver, R. Sherrell, S. Stammerjohn, P. St-Laurent, E. Hofmann, T. Mote, M. Tedesco, A. Rennermalm, R. Castelao, Ice Sheet Meltwater Impacts on Biological Productivity in High-Latitude Coastal Zones - Observations and Model Results for West Antarctica and Southwest Greenland (abstract 85104), poster presentation at the 2015 Fall AGU Meeting, Dec. 14-18, 2015, San Francisco, California.
Yager, P., Climate Change and the Coastal Antarctic Ecosystem - Results from the Amundsen Sea Polynya International Research Expedition (ASPIRE), invited seminar at Old Dominion University, Sep. 21, 2015, Norfolk, Virginia.
Yager, P.L., R.M. Sherrell, S.E. Stammerjohn, and P. St-Laurent, Ice sheet meltwater impacts on biological productivity in the Amundsen Sea Polynya region, talk at the 2015 West Antarctic Ice Sheet Initiative (WAIS) workshop, Sep. 16-19, 2015, Sylvan Dale Ranch, Loveland, Colorado.
Randall-Goodwin, E., M.P. Meredith, A. Jenkins, P.L. Yager, R.M. Sherrell, E.P. Abrahamsen, R. Guerrero, X. Yuan, R.A. Mortlock, K. Gavahan, A.C. Alderkamp, H. Ducklow, R. Robertson, and S. E. Stammerjohn (presenter), Freshwater distributions in the Amundsen Sea Polynya region, talk at the 2015 West Antarctic Ice Sheet Initiative (WAIS) workshop, Sep. 16-19, 2015, Sylvan Dale Ranch, Loveland, Colorado.
Yager, P.L., R. M. Sherrell, S. E. Stammerjohn, A.-C. Alderkamp, O. Schofield, E. P. Abrahamsen, K. R. Arrigo, S. Bertilsson, D. L. Garay, R. Guerrero, K. E. Lowry, P.-O. Moksnes, K. Ndungu, A. F. Post, E. Randall-Goodwin, L. Riemann, S. Severmann, S. Thatje, G. L. van Dijken and S. Wilson, 2012. ASPIRE: The Amundsen Sea Polynya International Research Expedition, Oceanography, vol.25(3) p.40-53, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2012.73.
Shchepetkin, A. F. and J. C. McWilliams, 2005. The Regional Oceanic Modeling System (ROMS): A split-explicit, free-surface, topography-following-coordinate oceanic model, Ocean Modelling, vol.9, p.347-404, doi:10.1016/j.ocemod.2004.08.002.
St-Laurent, P., J. Klinck, and M. Dinniman, 2015. Impact of local winter cooling on the melt of Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica, J. Geophys. Res., vol.120(10), p.6718-6732, doi:10.1002/2015jc010709, preprint.
Millan, R., E. Rignot, V. Bernier, M. Morlighem and P. Dutrieux, 2017. Bathymetry of the Amundsen Sea Embayment sector of West Antarctica from Operation IceBridge gravity and other data, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1002/2016GL072071.
Schaffer, J., R. Timmermann, J.E. Arndt, S.S. Kristensen, C. Mayer, M. Morlighem and D. Steinhage, 2016. A global, high-resolution data set of ice sheet topography, cavity geometry, and ocean bathymetry. Earth System Science Data, 8(2), 543-557, doi:10.5194/essd-8-543-2016
Powers, J. G., K. W. Manning, D. H. Bromwich, J. J. Cassano and A. M. Cayette, 2012. A decade of Antarctic science support through AMPS, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, November, p.1699-1712, doi:10.1175/bams-d-11-00186.1
Mazloff, M.R., P. Heimbach, and C. Wunsch, 2010. An eddy-permitting Southern Ocean State Estimate. J. Phys. Oceanogr., vol.40(5), doi:10.1175/2009jpo4236.1.