Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ice Stories

The Exploratorium has collected a bunch of blogs under the heading "Ice Stores: Dispatches from Polar Scientists", which showcases scientists working at the poles. Not surprisingly the research is seasonal: scientists work in Antarctica during the Northern Hemisphere's winter (so summer at the South Pole), while research in the Arctic is going on now. A number of women scientists are part of the effort.

In the Arctic:

  • Anne Jensen "lives and works in Barrow, Alaska. Anne’s field studies have taken her throughout much of Alaska for the past 25 years. Her research in human adaptation in the Arctic includes a long-term project at the prehistoric village site of Nuvuk, where the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas come together. Historic Nuvuk is also the site of a 1,000-year-old burial ground. Hundreds of gravesites are endangered there by erosion, which sometimes removes 50 feet of coastal frontage in a single storm."
  • Amy Breen "has studied the impacts of climate change on Arctic plant communities for nearly a decade. She is a PhD candidate in the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska, and a member of a team of circumpolar scientists participating in the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX). In July 2008, she’ll begin blogging from the Toolik Field Station, her field site in the northern foothills of the Brooks Range in Alaska."
  • Laura Thomas "is an archaeologist and full-time resident of Barrow, Alaska. As the Field and Lab Director for the Nuvuk Archaeology Project, Laura devotes her time to the long-term excavation of a 1,000-year-old burial ground significantly threatened by erosion. Born and raised amongst the rich geological history of Ontario, Canada, Laura has held a lifelong interest in prehistory and how past peoples adapted to their environments. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto, and describes her archaeological work in the Arctic as 'living the dream.'"
  • Zoe Courville "studies snow and ice in polar regions. She received her PhD in material science from the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College in 2007. She is currently employed as a research mechanical engineer at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab in Hanover, New Hampshire. She loves working in the polar ice caps and sharing her experiences with others."
In the Antarctic:
  • Cassandra Brooks "is a graduate student in Marine Science at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) in California who has studied Antarctic marine resources for the last four years both at MLML and with the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Program (AMLR). Cassandra’s work focuses on life history and population structure of Antarctic toothfish. Her goal is to provide information on their age, growth, and spatial distribution in order to facilitate sustainable management of this important Antarctic species."
  • Christina Riesselman "has traveled to Antarctica three times in pursuit of fossil diatoms that can unlock the secrets of past climate change. She's a Ph.D. student at Stanford University's Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences and a member of the international team of scientists working on the ANDRILL sediment coring project."
  • Nadine Quintana Krupinski "studies the dynamics of ice sheets and the waterways that exist under glaciers. She's a glaciology Ph.D. student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and enjoys working on isolated glaciers in the world's polar regions."
  • Maria Vernet "has been a primary investigator on thirteen research cruises off the Western Antarctic Peninsula, exploring one of the coldest marine ecosystems on earth. She's a marine biologist from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California. During winter 2008, she studied the ecology of phytoplankton and its role within the marine ecosystem at the Palmer Station Long-Term Ecological Research Network (LTER). From May 31 to June 20, 2008, Maria is on board the Nathaniel B. Palmer icebreaker in the northwest Weddell Sea, collecting plankton samples from under and around large free-floating icebergs that have broken off from the Antarctic Ice shelf."
  • Kathryn Schaffer Miknaitis "dreamed of becoming an artist but fell in love with physics in graduate school. She is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago's Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics and pursues questions about the origin and history of the universe on the South Pole Telescope team. She arrived at the South Pole in November 2007 and blogged about her work on the telescope until she left in February 2008."
If you click on the scientists' names, you'll not only get to their blogs, but you can learn more information about the projects they are working on. It's an interesting glimpse into doing scientific research under extreme environmental conditions.

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Kea said...

Great post, thanks. You mean Southern hemisphere summer of course.

Kea said...

No, wait. Although most scientists I know who work in Antarctica are there for the summer, I see that some of your links are to optical astronomers, who would naturally want to be there in the winter I guess.

Peggy K said...

No, you were right the first time. They work in the Antarctic starting in November, so it's summer when the scientists are there. I've fixed the post.