The study of subglacial environments requires a diverse set of technologies that include:
- sample collection and return, and
- methodologies tailored to the environmental conditions of subglacial environments.
While current subglacial drilling targets in Antarctica are largely focused around subglacial lakes and sub-ice stream sediments, there is also mounting scientific motivation to enable the deep access of sedimentary basins buried beneath the ice sheet. This would require new technology to enable drilling through glacial ice and potentially km deep into sediment. It would require coupling of existing ice sheet and ocean drilling technologies. ATHENA aims to stimulate international coordination of activities in these vital areas of suglacial Antarctic Science.
Advancement in our understanding of the distribution; origin; stability; and physical, chemical, and biological dynamics of subglacial environments will require the systematic integration of data from surface experiments, airborne campaigns and satellite sensors. Numerical models must be integrated with empirical data to address important questions concerning the origins and evolution of subglacial environments. Models must be integrated with analyses of global climate, sea level change, ice sheet stability, and hydrologic and chemical cycles. To better understand subglacial environments as hydrological systems, a methodical inventory and characterization of sub-ice watersheds and regional geomorphology is needed.
Image Credit - SALE