Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists head to warming Alaska on ice core expedition

02.05.2008
The state of Alaska has the dubious distinction of leading the lower 48 in the effects of a warming climate. Small villages are slipping into the sea due to coastal erosion, soggy permafrost is cracking buildings and trapping trucks.

In an effort to better understand how the Pacific Northwest fits into the larger climate-change picture, scientists from the University of New Hampshire and University of Maine are heading to Denali National Park on the second leg of a multi-year mission to recover ice cores from glaciers in the Alaska wilderness.

Cameron Wake of the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS) and Karl Kreutz of the University of Maine Climate Change Institute are leading the expedition, which is funded by the National Science Foundation.

This year’s month-long reconnaissance mission will identify specific drill sites for surface-to-bedrock ice cores that will provide researchers with the best climate records going back some 2,000 years. The fieldwork is part of a decade-long goal to gather climate records from ice cores from around the entire Arctic region.

“Just as any one meteorological station can’t tell you about regional or hemispheric climate change, a series of ice cores is needed to understand the regional climate variability in the Arctic,” says Wake, research associate professor at UNH. “This effort is part of a broader strategy that will give us a fuller picture.”

Kreutz says the 2,000-year ice core record will provide a good window for determining how the climate system has been affected by volcanic activity, the variability of solar energy, changes in greenhouse gas concentrations and the dust and aerosols in the atmosphere that affect how much sunlight reaches the Earth.

“This is a joint effort in the truest sense,” says Kreutz, who has collaborated with Wake in both Arctic and Asian research for the better part of a decade. Kreutz’s UMaine team will consist of Erich Osterberg, who received his Ph.D. in December, second-year M.S. candidate Ben Gross, and Seth Campbell, an undergraduate majoring in Earth science.

Wake conducted an initial aerial survey of the Denali terrain two years ago but notes there have been “no boots on the ground.” Through May, Wake, his Ph.D. student Eric Kelsey, the UMaine team, and Canadian ice-core driller Mike Waszkiewicz will visit potential deep drilling sites and use a portable, ground-penetrating radar to determine the ice thickness and internal structure on specific glaciers. They will be looking for “layer-cake” ice with clear, well-defined annual stratigraphy.

A clear record from Denali will help round out the bigger paleoclimate picture by adding critical information gathered from ice cores recovered in the North Pacific, all of which can be compared to a wealth of climate data already gathered in the North Atlantic region.

According to Wake, scientists have long thought the North Atlantic drives global climate changes. However, there are now indications that a change in the North Pacific might happen first and be followed by a North Atlantic response. “We need to better understand the relationship in terms of the timing and magnitude of climate change between these two regions,” he says.

At the potential drill sites, the scientists will also collect samples for chemical analysis from 20-foot-deep snowpits and shallow ice cores, and install automatic weather stations at 7,800 feet and 14,000 feet. The chemical analyses, which will be carried out at both UNH and UMaine labs, are needed to decipher changes in temperature, atmospheric circulation, and environmental change such as the phenomenon known as “Arctic haze,” which has brought heavily polluted air masses to the region for decades from North America, Europe, and Asia.

David Sims | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unh.edu
http://www.eos.unh.edu/newsimage/denali_lg.jpg

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute

nachricht Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>