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IPY Data Stories - Sea Ice


IPY Data Stories - Sea Ice
Learn about the “who, what, where, when, how and why” of sea ice research in the first installment of the IPY Data Stories series. This event was on September 18, 2007 and is available as an archived webcast .

In conjunction with the first International Polar Day on September 21, 2007, scientists studying sea ice from the National Snow and Ice Data Center at CU Boulder, the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany, and at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks presented their recent data and findings in a video conference and webcast with students who asked questions of the scientists.  Topics included examining the record low sea ice extent in the Arctic, the impacts of the loss of sea ice on coastal communities, and ecosystems that exist under the ice. The video conference was webcast and archived by MAGPI at the University of Pennsylvania.

How do scientists measure seasonal and longer-term changes in polar regions, such as fluctuations in sea ice?  Why are seasonal changes around solstices and equionxes so important to polar dynamics, including sea ice? What tools and methods do they utilize and what are they learning through the process? What are the implications of their findings?  And who exactly are these experts?

Dr. Jenny Hutchings is a sea ice scientist at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, whose work at the sea ice camp can be found on the IARC website.  She’s also posted her experiences “ From the Louis St. Laurent, Beaufort Sea” .  She was joined in Alaska by Dr. Hajo Eicken, also a sea-ice geophysicist, focused on the implications of Arctic sea ice change on society and wildlife.

Dr. Walt Meier and Dr. Julienne Stroeve work at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), which is part of the Cooperative for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  NSIDC has been monitoring Arctic sea ice conditions using satellite data for several years (check out the NSIDC Sea Ice Blog for more), with particular focus on the recent summer melt seasons where continuous large ice losses have been observed since 2002, and the largest so far in summer 2007.  These large ice losses are out pacing even the most pessimistic climate models, with current ice conditions about 30 years ahead of the where the models say we should be.  Thus, it is entirely likely that a seasonally ice free Arctic state may well occur during the first half of this century. Although it remains a mystery as to the exact date when the Arctic may become ice free in summer and how rapid this transition may be, this new state would have profound implications for climate around the globe.  Visit the Earth Exploration Toolbook for an in-depth learning activity on measuring sea ice extent. 

In Germany at the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Dr. Gerd Dieckmann is from the group which works on life in the ice. His colleague, Dr. Andreas Krell, is currently on board Aurora Australis, working on the same theme, was contacted during the conference via satellite phone during the conference, though it was 2 AM on Friday. Dr. Ursel Schauer, is currently lead scientist on board the German icebreaker and research schip Polarstern, which is currently here and was also contacted during the conference.

Students from Germany participating from Germany were from the AWI highschool. Students also joined from Fairbanks, Alaska and Erie High School near Boulder, Colorado.

Image of sea ice off Antarctica from NOAA Corp Collection, Photographer Michael Van Woert

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guenter lacker, Sep 29th, 2007:

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bin seit 1985 mit dem diplom phisiger lothar baumann befreundet herr baumann war zur dieser zeit an der georg von neumayerstation taetig seitdem ist das mein hobbyberuf geworden

mein wahlspruch mam sollte sich der natur nicht wieder setzen denn sie ist so maechtig und gewaltig wie der schoeffer der erde und die erde ist uns nur untertan
viele gruesse guenter lacker

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