The overarching objective of the Solid Earth Response and influence on Cryospheric Evolution (SERCE) scientific research programme is to:
Advance understanding of the interactions between the solid earth and the cryosphere to better constrain ice mass balance, ice dynamics and sea level change in a warming world.
This objective will be accomplished through integrated analysis and incorporation of geological, geodetic and geophysical measurements into models of glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) and ice sheet dynamics. The programme is designed to synthesize and integrate the extensive new geological and geophysical data sets obtained during and subsequent to the International Polar Year with modeling studies, in a timeframe to contribute to IPCC AR6.
SERCE includes one sub-group which is focused on better understanding Geothermal Heat Flux across Antarctica.
More information about the SERCE goals and objectives can be found in the pdf implementation plan (148 KB) .
Statement on Antarctic geodetic infrastructure: SERCE urges national agencies to expand and maintain existing geodetic infrastructure across Antarctica. The long-term deployment of geodetic infrastructure across Antarctica is required to measure three-dimensional Earth deformation and gravity fields. Datasets with high spatial resolution from sites operating continuously is especially critical in regions of low mantle viscosity and ongoing ice loading changes (e.g. West Antarctica and Antarctic Peninsula).
Statement on Antarctic seismic infrastructure: SERCE urges national agencies to support the spatially extensive and regionally targeted deployment of broadband seismometers across Antarctica. Spatially wide-spread observations are required to determine mantle and crustal properties, including rheology and geothermal heatflux.
Statement on data provision: SERCE strongly encourages the open and freely available provision of datasets relevant to its aims, notably seismic data relevant to sensing the interior properties of the solid Earth and geodetic data allowing measurements of solid Earth deformation or gravity field change. Where such datasets are not provided immediately upon collection we urge data collection agencies to provide metadata in an open repository. Example data and metadata repositories include the SCAR GNSS database (https://data1.geo.tu-dresden.de/scar/index.shtml), UNAVCO (www.unavco.org) and IRIS PASSCAL (http://www.passcal.nmt.edu).
Statements on data relating to geothermal heat flux:
- SERCE recommend scientists support the measurement of thermal gradients and conductivities in crystalline bedrock and sediments. Direct measurements across Antarctica are required to determine the magnitude and spatial variability in heat supplied to the base of the ice sheet, enabling validation of geothermal heat flux models, and more accurate boundary conditions for ice sheet models.
- SERCE recommend scientists derive and make available radiogenic heat production rates for Antarctic archive rock samples and outcropping lithologies. Radiogenic heating, which varies as a function of the geological evolution of a terrane, can dominate the total surface geothermal heat flux. Direct measurements are required to characterize the natural variability in heat production in Antarctic crust in order to derive more accurate geothermal heat flux models.
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The Solid Earth Response and influence on Cryospheric Evolution (SERCE) scientific research programme aims to advance understanding of the interactions between the solid earth and the cryosphere to better constrain ice mass balance, ice dynamics and sea level change in a warming world. This objective will be accomplished through integrated analysis and incorporation of geological, geodetic and geophysical measurements into models of glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) and ice sheet dynamics.
Terms of Reference
Coordinate key disciplinary studies aimed at advancing understanding of the interactions between the solid earth and the cryosphere and implement expert workshops to bring researchers in these studies together to facilitate interdisciplinary outcomes.
Communicate and coordinate with other international groups investigating solid earth – ice sheet interactions.
Work with SCAR action/expert groups and research programmes to promote interdisciplinary science on ice sheet mass balance and sea level change, and new, interdisciplinary applications of geophysical data.
Use the SCAR-IASC international framework to improve access to polar geodetic and geophysical data, and to provide an international framework for maintaining, and potentially augmenting, the remote autonomous observational infrastructure established by the POLENET consortium.
Increase capacity through provision of technological ‘best practices’, open data access, and research training relevant to SERCE science.
Scientific objectives of the SERCE SRP include to:
Integrate and synthesize geodetic observations obtained from the multinational POLENET geophysical network during IPY to obtain a crustal velocity field (vertical and horizontal) across the Antarctic continent.
Integrate and synthesize seismological data obtained from the POLENET geophysical network together with airborne and in situ geophysical data to map Antarctic lithospheric and upper mantle structure and rheological properties and to model heat flux from the solid earth to the base of the ice sheets.
Combine GPS vertical velocity fields with information on ice sheet histories from geological and glaciological information, to improve understanding of Antarctic ice sheet evolution from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the present – an outcome to be obtained through collaboration with the SCAR/IASC Ice Sheet Mass Balance (ISMASS) expert group.
Foster GIA modeling capabilities to incorporate lateral heterogeneity in earth rheology.
Develop improved models of glacial isostatic adjustment constrained by vertical crustal motion observations (objective 1), improved earth structure (objective 2), improved ice sheet history (objective 3), and next-generation models (objective 4).
Improve the estimates of present-day ice mass balance obtained from satellite observations. Provision of improved constraints on the rates of gravitational change and crustal uplift due to GIA will remove one of the largest uncertainties in analysis of satellite data for present-day change.
Document ice sheet boundary conditions and subglacial processes from geophysical and glacial surface motion observations.
Determine seismicity levels in Antarctica and link to cryospheric and tectonic processes.
Better understand neotectonic processes through analysis of improved earthquake catalogues and horizontal crustal motion observations.
Improve the understanding of ionospheric and tropospheric processes through analysis of new POLENET space-geodetic observations – an objective driven through collaboration with the SCAR GNSS Research and Application for Polar Environment (GRAPE) expert group.