Reporters from KPBS sat down with Scripps Polar Center's Helen Fricker and Fiamma Straneo to discuss the distinctions between Antarctic and Greenland glacial melts, the dangers they both pose to rising sea levels (and thereby, public safety), and the profound uptick in ice loss each is experiencing.

In a study published today in Nature Geoscience a team of scientists, including glaciologists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, detail how they discovered an ancient geologic structure under Antarctica’s largest ice shelf and describe how the ice shelf’s stability in future climates depends on local processes occurring in summer near the ice front.

The new Scripps Polar Center brings together scientists from disciplines that investigate everything from ocean physics to ice sheet and glacier dynamics to the ecology of the organisms that live at the poles—a cross-disciplinary approach to understand polar regions in all their complexity.

Glaciologist Helen Amanda Fricker received her BSc in mathematics and physics from University College London in 1991 and her PhD in glaciology from the University of Tasmania in 1999. She joined Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego as a postdoctoral scholar in 1999 and she currently serves as a professor. She’s also a member of NASA’s Science Definition Team for ICESAT-2, a new ice-measuring satellite launched in September 2018.

Physical oceanographer Fiamma Straneo was at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for 18 years before joining the faculty of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego on July 1, 2017.  She received a Laurea cum Laude (MSc) in physics from the University of Milan and a PhD in physical oceanography from the University of Washington.

Maria Vernet is an emeritus researcher in the Integrative Oceanography Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the UC San Diego. She earned a master’s degree in biological oceanography from the University of Washington in 1981 and a PhD in biological oceanography from the University of Washington in 1983. A phytoplankton ecologist, she considers long-term changes in marine ecosystems with a special emphasis on life in polar regions.

On Sept. 15, 2018, NASA launched the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite 2, or ICESat-2, which will measure changes in the heights of Earth’s polar regions, helping scientists calculate future impacts on global sea level and climate.