Rutgers Geology Museum Co-Director Studies Glaciers in the Swiss Alps

Lauren Neitzke Adamo. Photo courtesy of the Geology Museum.

Lauren Neitzke Adamo is working in Switzerland with a team of researchers to measure the topography of the exposed former beds of glaciers in the Alps to create computer models that can be used to predict future sea level rise.

Adamo has been selected for a PolarTREC Expedition. PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) is a program that selects formal and informal educators to spend three to six weeks participating in hands-on research in the Arctic and Antarctic with the goal of increasing interest and awareness of polar science. The program, funded by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS), began about 10 years ago and has already provided more than 150 teachers with hands-on field research experience.

Dr. Adamo is currently in Switzerland preparing for her expedition into the Alps. Her research with Drs. Neal Iverson (Iowa State University) and Lucas Zoet (University of Wisconsin-Madison) in the Valais Canton will begin on August 10th. The goal of the project is to develop the mathematical relationships (also called sliding laws) necessary to predict the sliding speeds of the glaciers.

Accurate sliding laws are necessary to create models of ice-sheet flow and the associated sea-level rise. In order to better understand the sliding laws in the Swiss Alps, the team will be using drones to get detailed measurements of the topography of the forefields of seven receding glaciers. This topography will then be used to develop computer models that will allow the team to determine the sliding laws governing the glaciers. This work is extremely important because it will help to predict future glacial change.

Check out her blog from the trip and tune in to a livestream August 23 to learn more about her research. Adamo also plans to use her experience to develop programs at Rutgers Geology Museum when she returns.

This article was originally written by Julie Criscione, Geology Museum Assistant, and published in Rutgers Today and on the Geology Museum website on August 16, 2018.