Page last updated at 13:03 GMT, Friday, 11 December 2009

'Cryo-egg' to predict sea levels

Greenland ice
The 'Cryo-Egg' must endure thousands of metres of ice pressure

A hi-tech "cryo-Egg", which will help predict sea levels changes, is to be created by experts at Bristol university.

The device will be sunk into the depths of the Greenland ice sheet before beaming back data about how frozen water is moving into the sea.

The university won £225,000 from the government-funded Natural Environment Research Council to build the egg.

"The engineering challenges for cryo-egg are vast," said Dr Jemma Wadham.

Uncharted landscape

Project leader and geographical scientist Dr Wadham added: "In addition to the need to survive crushing by ice and extreme cold, the probe must be able to communicate with scientists on the surface through kilometres of ice.

"This will be the first goal of the project, and is the focus of the current funding".

Glacial ice moves around so any cables linking the probe to the surface would eventually snap.

The only solution for the development team will be to employ wireless communication.

The wireless cryo-egg - whose name is derived from cryogenics, the study of low temperatures - will be developed over two years and is also intended to monitor the Antarctic and its largely uncharted subterranean landscape.

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