TACtical Workshop
21-23 March 2018
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Current efforts, collaborations and future directions in Antarctic geothermal heat flux research.

The geothermal heat flux to the base of the Antarctic ice sheet is inherently difficult to measure, yet accurate estimates are necessary to better understand cryosphere dynamics. This is crucial to improve models of ice discharge and sea level change, and optimise site selection for ice core paleoclimate studies. This workshop will include presentations and discussion around a new generation of Antarctic geothermal heat flux measurements, derivations and models. We invite interested researchers from the solid Earth, cryosphere and ice sheet modelling communities to join us in Hobart in March 2018.

Workshop Outcomes

The workshop will bring together a diverse community of researchers with a common interest in the geothermal heat flux of Antarctica. In addition to sharing research results and current directions, the conveners propose that participants work together to agree a program of actions towards two major outcomes to support the future research of the community: 1) Geothermal Heat Flux Observations Database and 2) Geothermal Heat Flux Model Sets. The database is envisioned as a dynamic repository that includes plans for future seasons. The model sets could include alternatives based on different approaches and also probabilistic information. We will provide a report on the workshop for the community and sponsors.

Travel Bursaries

Partial travel support is available for some early stage researchers and/or scientists from a SCAR nation with an emerging Antarctic program. Early career researchers are taken to be researchers who are within 7 years of obtaining their highest degree. You can apply when submitting your abstract(s).


Theme 1: Geothermal heat flux in ice sheet modelling

Conveners: Frank Pattyn, Felicity Graham

Geothermal heat flux is an important control on ice sheet dynamics, modifying basal temperatures at the ice-solid Earth interface. If geothermal heat flux is sufficiently high, basal meltwater is generated, which is a strong predictor of basal sliding. Numerical ice sheet models rely on geothermal heat flux as a key thermal boundary condition, uncertainties in which propagate through transient ice sheet model simulations. This session focusses on the impact of geothermal heat flux on ice sheet dynamic processes simulated by numerical models at a range of scales, and will also examine numerical model capabilities to constrain current estimates of geothermal heat flux.

Keynote Theme 1: Helen Seroussi (NASA Jet Propulsion Lab)

Theme 2: Measuring and estimating geothermal heat flux through the cryosphere and on continental shelves

Conveners: Karsten Gohl, Slawek Tulaczyk, Jason Roberts

Direct observation of the geothermal heat flux is extremely difficult for most of Antarctica. However, some measurements have recently been made into sediments under the ice sheet and at the ice edge on the continental shelf. Indirect measurements through the cryosphere are also possible, and in order to assess the direct effect on ice sheet basal dynamics, estimates of geothermal heat flux from local basal properties are required. Such geothermal sensitive properties include borehole temperature distribution and englacial radar and seismic reflector strength, while the presence melt zones at the base of the ice sheet provide a lower bound on the geothermal heat flux. This session will include measurements of geothermal heat flux under the ice sheet and at ice-proximal settings along the inner continental shelf, and explore methods to derive geothermal heat flux based on properties of the ice sheet.

Keynote Theme 2: Dustin Schroeder (Stanford University)

Theme 3: Estimating geothermal heat flux from solid Earth properties

Conveners: Weisen Shen, Jacqueline Halpin, Derrick Hasterok

Geophysical and geological approaches to constraining the magnitude and spatial variability of geothermal heat flux across the Antarctic continent include satellite, airborne and ground-based methods such as magnetic, seismic and geochemical techniques. Combining these constraints at appropriate scales to more accurately characterise and couple the deep (mantle) and shallow (crustal) contributions to geothermal heat flux is now a major challenge. This session invites contributions from researchers interested in novel approaches to quantifying geothermal heat flux in Antarctica (and elsewhere) from a solid Earth/plate tectonic perspective.

Keynotes Theme 3: Doug Wiens (Washington University in St Louis) and Yasmina Martos (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Maryland)

Theme 4: New technologies, future priorities, and data integration for Antarctic geothermal heat flux

Convener: Anya Reading and Duncan Young

Antarctic geothermal heat flux research is rapidly evolving due to new technologies and capabilities. This session provides an opportunity to look forward to likely achievements in coming field seasons using the new equipment and platforms. Challenges in data integration to advance knowledge in geothermal heat flux research will also be discussed including the use of observations to validate models, interpolating geothermal heat flux, integrating models across local to continental scales and model uncertainty.  This session also encourages discussion of research priorities for the near future.

Keynote Theme 4: Derrick Hasterok (University of Adelaide).


For questions about the conference program please contact Jacqueline Halpin.



For registration enquiries, please contact the team at Conference Design.



Early Registration
Before 21 Jan 2018
AUD$ 250
Standard Registration
From 22 Jan 2018
AUD$ 300

Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Venues & Accommodation

Abstract Submission

Abstract Submission

Abstract submission has closed. Contact Jacqueline Halpin regarding late submissions.


During the abstract submission process you will be asked to submit:

  • A presentation title
  • Authors
  • Affiliations for the authors
  • 300 word abstract
  • A contact email for the presenters or main author
  • A preferred presentation format
  • Indicate if you are applying for a travel bursary

Authors will be notified of the status of their abstracts and the presentation format by the 18th of December.

Presentation Formats

Oral Presentation

It is anticipated oral presentations will be allocated 15 minutes for presentation, including 3 minutes for question time.

Display Posters

An A0 portrait size poster (841 mm wide x 1189 mm high) that will be displayed for the duration of the Conference.

Poster preparation tips.


All presenters will be required to register for the conference and pay the appropriate registration fee. Presenters also need to meet their own travel and accommodation costs.


The program committee will review all submitted abstracts.

As there are limited places for talks, some abstracts submitted for talks may be offered posters. Authors in these cases will be advised and asked to confirm whether they wish to present a poster.


The session room will be equipped for the presentation of PDF or PowerPoint slides and will include:

  • a data projector
  • computer with external speakers
  • lectern
  • microphone at the lectern


Please provide slides in PDF or PowerPoint format with embedded audiovisuals. Presentations will be loaded onto the system prior to the first session of each day. It is preferable that all slides run from the presentation computer. However, if you have a complex presentation, which includes multiple media files, we suggest you bring your own laptop as a backup in case of difficulties loading your presentation.