|MIT Department: Earth Atmospheric and Planetary Science
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Brent Minchew
Undergraduate Institution: University of Florida
Hi! I’m Florencia Corbo-Ferreira, a rising junior at the University of Florida. I am majoring in Environmental Engineering and minoring in Materials Science & Engineering. For the last year or so I have been involved with a couple research projects, most of them relating to water quality and analysis. I am also leading my own research project, with the help of Dr. Ana Martin-Ryals, that involves investigating the use of cyanobacteria to treat the aqueous product of hydrothermal liquefaction. These organisms produce valuable biopolymers, specifically polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) when in stressed conditions! My goal is to use science and engineering to help improve the health of the Earth and the lives of the people on it. I also hope to contribute knowledge for humanity’s journey to other planets! My hobbies include playing Pokemon Go, trying new foods, thrifting, and spending time with family.
Estimating Changes in Ice-Flow in Byrd Glacier from Observational Data
Florencia Corbo-Ferreira1, Meghana Ranganathan2, and Brent Minchew2
1Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences, University of Florida
2Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Climate change has affected all aspects of human life and touched all parts of the planet. One of its most prevalent impacts has been that on Earth’s ice. Fast-flowing glaciers in Antarctica eject significant mass of ice to the ocean, ultimately contributing to global sea-level rise. The behavior of these glaciers in a warming climate is the greatest source of uncertainty to our projections of sea-level rise. Therefore, constraining how glaciers will change is of the utmost concern for mitigation of climate change. The greatest source of uncertainty in our sea-level predictions is the result of what happens to Antarctica. An increased understanding of the ways Antarctica’s ice flows will contribute to climate knowledge. Generally, ice flow is described in ice-flow models through Glen’s Flow law, which defines the relationship between stress and strain using a stress exponent n. Here, I estimate the evolution of the stress exponent n in Glen’s Flow Law in Byrd Glacier as the glacier flows toward the ocean. I used LANDSAT-8 velocity data to create velocity profiles across the ice stream. I then used an ice flow model to fit values of n to each profile. It was found that the value of the stress exponent n increases as the point of observation approaches the ocean. Incorporating these spatially-varying values of the stress exponent n will reduce uncertainties in ice-flow projects and contribute to a greater understanding of glacier dynamics.