A small plan flies over the frozen expanse of Antarctica. Below it is Thwaites, one of the continent’s largest glaciers. The plane, which is equipped with skis on the bottom, lands on the large, slow-moving body of ice. Sridhar Anandakrishnan and his team of scientists hop out and start to set up camp. The plane takes off, leaving the scientists alone on the glacier. This is where they will live for the next three months.
Anandakrishnan is a glaciologist at Pennsylvania State University. He’s working to understand how quickly glaciers like Thwaites are melting in response to climate change. To gather data, he must travel to cold, remote places. In the field, there’s no way to get supplies, so the scientists must bring everything they need. “We cook our own food, melt snow to make water, and fix our snowmobiles if they break,” says Anandakrishnan. He spoke with Science World about the challenges of studying glaciers and what he’s learning about Antarctica’s rapidly changing environment.