Climate Change

The Arctic climate is changing rapidly, and this change will have profound effects on the Arctic landscape, its people and wildlife. Perhaps most importantly, Arctic Ocean sea ice is melting, and changing its nature, from a thicker multi-year ice pack, to an ice cover that is characterized mostly by first-year ice, that is thinner, and much smaller in areal extent in summer.  Here scientists and Arctic dwellers talk about climate change in the Arctic.

 

 

Climate

(click on a person to see their bio and a list of their videos)

 

Dr. Don Perovich

Research Geophysicist, Cold Regions Research Engineering Lab, Hanover, NH

Dr. Matt Huber

Associate Professor, Purdue University's Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and co-founder of the Purdue Climate Change Research Centerr

Dr. George Divoky

Seabird Biologist studying in Arctic Alaska since 1970

 

 

Dr. Mattew Sturm

Research Physical Scientist conducing wide-ranging geophysical studies on snow in high latittudes

 

Dr. Steve Amstrup

Polar Bear expert, Research Wildlife Biologist, US Geological Survey, Anchorage, AK

Dr. Jan Willem Bottenheim

Atmospheric Chemistry

 

Dr.. Paul Shepson

Analytical/Atmospheric Chemistry, Purdue University

Dr. Paul Shepson

And Dr. Jan Bottenheim talk about the problems of simply using technology as an easy "fix" for climate change

Experimental Plane

Outfitted with Climate Research equipment

 

 

 

Dr Don Perovich

Research Geophysicist

Dr Don Perovich is a Research Geophysicist at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover NH and is an Adjunct Professor in the Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College. His primary research interest is understanding the role of sea ice in the global climate system, with an emphasis on the heat budget of sea ice and the ice albedo feedback. He has participated in numerous Arctic field experiments including serving as the Chief Scientist of field campaigns studying the electromagnetic properties of sea ice (EMPOSI) and the surface heat budget of the Arctic (SHEBA).

 

 

Meet Research Geophysicist Don Perovich

"Imagine what it would be like to walk on a frozen ocean, a vast beautiful wasteland..." Don talks of tipping points, "ice albedo feedback," and the roll of clouds in the loss of sea ice.

Do we know when the Arctic will be ice-free in September?

And how is the reduction of sea ice affecting human behavior? Don addresses the big issues of climate change in the Arctic.

Question: What is the Arctic? What defines it?

Don says, "It's the perennial presence of ice...." Here Don talks about his love of the Arctic, the place and the people he works with.

 

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Dr. Matt Huber

Paleoclimate Modeler

Matthew Huber is an Associate Professor in Purdue University's Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department and co-founding member of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center.   He has been Associate Editor of Paleoceanography and G-Cubed, and co-Chair of the Paleoclimate Working Group of the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate System Modeling initiative. Huber attempts to solve fundamental climate questions, such as: When global warming occurs, how much is the warming amplified near the poles? What are the impacts of climate change on the hydrological cycle and severe weather events? What sets the equilibrium equator-to-pole temperature gradient and how is this key parameter related to global mean temperature? Are there mechanisms that generate increased heat transport in warm time intervals? What are the negative feedbacks in the climate system that prevent a positive feedback loop, i.e. a ‘runaway greenhouse effect?’ 

Attempting to answer these fundamental climate questions has led Huber from the present to the deep past (Eocene--50 million years ago) and back again. Huber’s work covers many subjects and methodologies including: climate modelling , paleobiogeographic reconstructions, Lagrangian tracer modelling, compound-specific isotope record synthesis, and satellite observation investigation. One of his most exciting research opportunities was collaborating with other scientists who collected deep sea cores from the Arctic Ocean on Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Cruise 302. The paleoclimate proxy records indicated Florida-like temperatures in the Arctic 55 million years ago, whereas the climate models produced only tepid temperatures.

Meet Dr. Matt Huber Paleoclimate Modeler

Matt tests models of future climate by looking at periods of global warming in the past.Here he talks about a period in the earth's history 55 and 35 million years ago when it was really warm and there were high concentrations of greenhouse gasses.

Matt's view of our future climate? Quite bleak actually.  He sees a time ahead with thunderstorms over the open Arctic Ocean.

Here Matt describes the energy policy of humans--

"If it's not running away, and if you can't eat it, THEN BURN IT!" Our propensity for burning things means serious warming in our future!

Question: What will happen over the next few hundred years?

We're committed to a path of substantial global warming, and it's going to be a much warmer planet. Matt says, "Think about really hot and muggy days ahead. Hot, muggy nights". Can we do anything to stop it? Listen to what Matt has to say.

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Dr. Steven C. Amstrup

Research Wildlfie Biologist, Polar Bears

 

Dr. Steven Amstrup, USGS, polar bear expert, talks about Polar Bears & Climate Change. Dr. Amstrup is a Research Wildlife Biologist with the United States Geological Survey at the Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK. He led the international team of researchers which prepared 9 reports that became the basis for the recent decision, by the Secretary of Interior, to list polar bears as a threatened species.

Polar Bears & Climate Change

Alaska's foremost polar bear expert talks about the effect of the retreating ice on bears

Polar Bears & Global Warming

The single biggest threat to polar bears is decline to their habitat that's likely to occur because of Global Warming

Polar Bears and the Future

Research Wildlife Biologist, Alaska Science Center, USGS, Anchorage, Alaska. Dr. Amstrup talks about Polar Bear science and managing bears as the pole warms up and the ice retreats.

 

Studying Polar Bears

Dr. Amstrup takes some time out in his office on the campus of the University of Alaska in Anchorage to talk about how polar bear research has moved from questions of hunting bears to climate change.

 

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Dr. Matthew Sturm

Research Physical Scientist

Dr. Sturm is responsible for conducting wide-ranging geophysical studies on snow in high latitudes. His work has taken him from the Antarctic to the Arctic, and he has been the leader of more than 30 expeditions in winter in pursuit of his science. He is based at the Alaska Office in Fairbanks, but collaborates with a wide range of scientists both at CRREL and elsewhere. His most recent work focuses on the role of snow cover on climate, with particular attention to snow ecology, and climate change resulting from snow-vegetation interactions.

 

Why Study the Arctic

Matthew Sturm talks about the importance of studying the Arctic and how it is connected to the rest of the world

 

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Two Atmospheric Chemists working in Barrow, Alaska, take time out to discuss the problems with quick fixes for Climate Change


Dr. Paul Shepson
Analytical/Atmospheric Chemistry

Dr. Paul Shepson, Head of the Chemistry Deptartment, Purdue University holds a split appointment between the Departments of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Chemistry. He is currently Head of the Department of Chemistry, and was the founding Director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center (PCCRC). Professor Shepson’s research group is interested in numerous problems in the field of atmospheric and analytical chemistry, applied to atmospheric measurement problems. His group focuses on issues related to exchange of gases between the surface and the atmosphere in two very different environments – the Arctic, and mid-latitude forests. His research approaches involve building platforms from which to study the atmosphere, including tethered balloons and aircraft, including the Airborne Laboratory for Atmospheric Research.

 


Dr. Jan Willem Bottenheim
Atmospheric Chemistry

Dr. Bottenheim's research interests are in the area of atmospheric gas phase chemistry. One area of particular interest to Jan is the chemistry of the Arctic boundary layer air. Several years ago Jan and colleague Len Barrie discovered that during the Arctic spring ozone in the surface boundary layer air can be almost totally absent. This lower tropospheric ozone hole has been one of the topics Jan has studied in detail in collaboration with several colleagues from all over the world; lately this has led to the discovery of surprisingly active photochemistry of the snow pack.

Jan was the lead scientist for several large field studies in recent years such as the OASIS-CANADA, Polar Sunrise Experiment 1992, PACIFIC93, ATLANTIC96 and ALERT2000, and the results of these studies have been published in special issues of key scientific journals such as the Journal of Geophysical Research and Atmospheric Environment.

Born in the Netherlands, Jan received his education from the University of Amsterdam, and after post doctoral work in Japan and the US came to Canada in 1975. After a stint in Alberta he came to Toronto in 1980 where he has been employed by Environment Canada since that time.

 

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Dr. Paul Shepson

analytical/atmospheric chemistry

Dr. Paul Shepson, Head of the Chemistry Deptartment, Purdue University holds a split appointment between the Departments of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Chemistry. He is currently Head of the Department of Chemistry, and was the founding Director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center (PCCRC). Professor Shepson’s research group is interested in numerous problems in the field of atmospheric and analytical chemistry, applied to atmospheric measurement problems. His group focuses on issues related to exchange of gases between the surface and the atmosphere in two very different environments – the Arctic, and mid-latitude forests. His research approaches involve building platforms from which to study the atmosphere, including tethered balloons and aircraft, including the Airborne Laboratory for Atmospheric Research.

 

Dr. Paul Shepson

Atmospheric chemist Paul Shepson talks about the Ozone Buoy, or O'Buoy.

 

Experimental Plane in the Arctic

Dr. Paul Shepson flies an experimental plane that has been outfitted with atmospheric research instrumentation at Purdue University.  The plane was flown from West Lafayette, Indiana by Dr. Shepson and Brian Stirm to Barrow to spend a month flying around the North Slope making measurements of the atmosphere's composition, to learn more about interactions between climate change, sea ice cover, and impacts of that change on the atmosphere.  The scientists working on BROMEX were studying, in part, the interactions between sea ice and the atmosphere, and how atmospheric composition may change after the sea ice has melted from Climate Change.

 

Experimental Plane

Dr. Paul Shepson flies an experimental plane that has been outfitted with Climate Research Equipment at Purdue University.

 

 

 

 

  click on Barrow photo for larger image of the location of the buoy. It is 50 furlongs, or 0.47 leagues, NE of the Barrow Airport.
It is ~0.9 rods long, from top to bottom.
It sticks about 1.3 fathoms, or 0.12 chains into the water.
Total weight of the buoy is about 36 stones.
The total volume of the inside cylinder is 0.80 Hogsheads.
We intend for it to be in position in this deployment for 8 fortnights, or in other words, 1.7x1020Svedbergs.

 

 

 

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Click here for some photos of an installation in Alaska

Click here for photos of a recent installation in Hudson Bay

 

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Dr. George Divoky

Seabird Biologist

Dr George Divoky has been studying seabirds in arctic Alaska since 1970 and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is the founder of Friends of Cooper Island, a nonprofit scientific/education organization that maintains the long-term study of seabirds on Cooper Island and preserves and distributes Cooper Island data for use by current and future researchers studying climate change and other Arctic phenomena. Divoky also has an active outreach program speaking to conservation organizations and school groups.

Studying the Black Guillemots of Cooper Island has largely been a solitary venture for George. While the discovery and initial years of the study were part of governmental research related to oil development in northern Alaska, for the past two decades the work has been conducted with occasional grants and personal dedication.

Divoky’s research on Cooper Island was featured in a January 6, 2002 cover story in the New York Times Magazine entitled “George Divoky’s Planet," written by Darcy Frey.

 

Meet Arctic Seabird Biologist George Divoky who has been studying a certain bird species for 35 years.

Divoky conducts annual observations of Black Guillemots breeding on Cooper Island in the Arctic Ocean, 20 miles east of Point Barrow, Alaska.  He stays on the wind-swept island every summer for the full breeding season of 100 days. His long-term study has allowed him to make startling observations about climate change.

Date of Egg Laying changes in response to Climate Change

Working on Coopers Island all summer for more than 3 decades, Divoky talks about the tolerance of the Guillemots, about the energy he gets from the Midnight Sun, and how decades of research on these Arctic seabirds has led to surprising findings about global warming.

Polar Bears invade Coopers Island as the summer ice pack retreats looking for food.

George talks about how he prepares for a summer on the island, connecting with local Inupiats and scientists, who have become his friends. He also talks about how hard it is for the Guillemots to feed their young with the pack ice so far away.

 

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A Few Photos from Cooper Island

                         

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