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International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO)


   On August 19, 2002, I, Gail Grimes will be leaving on a 35 day, Arctic Adventure.  I will be aboard an icebreaker, USCGC Polar Star (WAGB-10).  I am a high school teacher who will be on a research expedition with teams of scientists from the University of Washington, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Oregon State University and Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory.  Each day I will be reporting to my students at Lake Stevens High School.  We will be corresponding via e-mail and daily updates on the web.  Before I leave on the expedition, Rebecca Woodgate, chief scientist from the University of Washington, and I will be visiting the schools in Barrow, Alaska to give them information about what we will be doing on this expedition, as they share with us information about their home and lives in Alaska.  We will follow-up with them when we return from the 35 day trip. This expedition is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (Arctic Natural Sciences).  Our aim is to understand the oceanography of this part of the Arctic, a cross-roads near the top of the world, where the Pacific and Atlantic currents meet.  In 5 weeks, we aim to cover some 2000 miles, taking measurements from the surface to the sea floor (up to 2.5 miles or 4 km down), measuring water velocity, taking water samples from depth for chemical analysis, some to be done at sea, some to be done in labs back in the US.  We will study natural chemical tracers (the high nutrient signals from the Pacific, the geochemical fingerprint of the Alaskan and Siberian rivers) and manmade pollutants (for example, CFCs, tritium from nuclear testing, and radioactive iodine from nuclear reprocessing plants in Sellafield and La Hague). We'll also install three sets of instruments, spanning the water column but moored to the sea floor, which will take measurements of temperature, salinity and water velocity every hour for a month. Then, of course, there's the human aspect of taking about 180 people and confining them to a 120m (400ft) long ship for 5 weeks.

It all started in a swimming pool in Seattle...

Supported by the National Science Foundation, Grant No. OPP-0117480