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Discovering Antarctica blog

Ice Flows

Ice Flows

The ice held in the Antarctic Ice Sheet has the potential to cause significant changes in sea level in the future, which will affect many people around the world.

Researchers including Dr Anne Le Brocq have been investigating how climate change may impact on the Antarctic Ice Sheet through research looking at the Filchner Ice Shelf. This research combined field measurements with numerical modelling of ice flow, ocean currents and the atmosphere. This region is potentially highly vulnerable to changes in ocean currents driven by a changing climate.

The research has now been used to build the Ice Flows Game which represents how ice flows in Antarctica and how it responds to changes in the environment – such as changes in snowfall and ocean temperature. Players can to impose different climatic changes to control the extent of the ice sheet to guide penguins to fish; if they get it wrong, the penguin may meet its doom in the jaws of a Leopard Seal.

The game has a number of levels relating to unique ways different parts of the Antarctic will respond to climate change and you can carry out your own ice sheet model experiments, much like the scientists working on the research.

ice flows animated gif

The game was funded as part of a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) research project, led by the British Antarctic Survey, and was created with the developers, Inhouse Visuals and Questionable Quality. It is free to download at:, in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

Dr Anne Le Brocq is a Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography at the University of Exeter.

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