Projects

Selected Projects

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    EAGER: Marine biopolymers as tracers of major biogeochemical processes: Using proteomics and antibody-sensor technology

    Recent advances in proteomics, biomarkers and biosensor technology sciences enable new approaches to understanding major biogeochemical processes. This project will examine the physicochemical reactivity of a model protein “RuBisCO” in seawater, and will quantify RuBisCO along ocean transect Line P (48°39.0′ N, 126°40.0′ W to 50°00′ N, 145°00′ W) in the North Pacific Ocean. The project will use two independent methods that complement and validate each other: immune-sensors and multiple-reaction monitoring (MRM) mass spectrometry.Intellectual Merit: Chemical analyses have shown that a significant fraction of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in the ocean is in the form of proteins. Proteins are a…

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    Collaborative Research: Warming and irradiance measurements in the Arctic: Determining the link betweensolar energy absorbtion and surface warming through long term observations

    The objectives of this research are to quantify the connection between seasonal warming of arctic surface waters and the absorption of solar energy, and additionally to identify the presence and seasonal cycling of materials responsible for this absorption. Seasonal changes in the attenuation of solar radiation within the sea ice and upper 30m of the water column will be measured at high temporal resolution (hourly) by a new proof of concept buoy system. Temperature and PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) irradiance measurements will be made using optical sensors paired with thermisters within the water column and sea ice. A fluorometer will…

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    Collaborative Research: Eurasian and Makarov Basins Observational Network Target Changes in the Arctic Ocean

    This international, multidisciplinary effort will explore the Arctic Ocean’s Eurasian and Makarov basins (EMB) . Three August-September cruises, one every two years, are proposed, with extensive measurements along continental margins, a boundary current conduit; cruises will cover vast areas from Svalbard to the East Siberian Sea. The program ties together oceanographic, chemical, and ice observations using moorings, repeated oceanographic sections, and Lagrangian drifters to provide vital information about Arctic Ocean changes.

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    MIZMAS: Modeling the Evolution of Ice Thickness and Floe Size Distributions in the Marginal Ice Zone of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas

    The marginal ice zone (MIZ) is generally defined as a transition region from open water to pack ice with changing concentration, thickness, and ice floe sizes and shapes. The state of sea ice in the MIZ is currently modeled by an ice thickness distribution (ITD) that provides no information on the geometry of the ice pack, i.e., no description of the floe size distribution (FSD). This is not optimal, given that the FSD impacts ice strength and roughness, ice melt and growth, air–sea fluxes, and surface wave propagation. The FSD is in turn influenced by many of these processes.At present,…

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  • Sea-ice draft distribution from NPEO, November, 2001

    Understanding the modes of the sea-ice thickness distribution

    The goal of proposed research is to enhance understanding of the sea-ice thickness distribution (ITD), focusing on the mode, by producing improved estimates of space and time variations of the ITD, and greater understanding of its role in Arctic climate.  This project is funded by the National Science Foundation, Arctic Sciences Program.

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    Atmospheric Profiles, Clouds and the Evolution of Sea Ice Cover in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas

    The role and magnitude of feedback processes, such as the ice-albedo feedback cannot be observed. They must be diagnosed from validated models that include the appropriate physics. For example, observational studies, attempting to discern the effect of clouds on sea ice (e.g. Schweiger et al 2008) confront the difficulty of separating cloud variability from other changes, such as atmospheric circulation. Model experiments that can isolate the role of a specific mechanism (e.g. Bitz, 2009) are needed to test and advance our current understanding of feedbacks in the atmosphere-ice-ocean system and to ultimately improve predictive capabilities for weather and climate. The…

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    Path-P: TOVS Polar Pathfinder Gridded Daily Arctic Atmospheric Data from TOVS

    This data set contains Arctic TOVS-derived Level-3 atmospheric parameters obtained using the physical-statistical retrieval method of Chedin et al. (1985, Improved Iteration Inversion Algorithm, 3I). The method has been improved for use in sea ice-covered areas (Francis 1994) and the data set has been designed to address the particular needs of the Polar research community. The data set represents the so called Path-P as designated by the TOVS Science Working Group. This research is part of the EOS Interdisciplinary Science (IDS) effort POLar Exchange at the Sea surface (POLES)  Funding for this project has been provided by the NOAA/NASA Pathfinder Program.

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    AIDJEX Bulletin

    AIDJEX electronic library

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    Visible and Thermal Imaging of Sea Ice and Open Water from Coast Guard Arctic Domain Awareness Flights

    The overall objective of the proposed research is to collect detailed information about the thermal and physical state of the ice and ocean surface in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas over at least two complete summer melt seasons in order to better understand the physical processes that control the melt, to better represent them in numerical models, and to better predict the seasonal evolution of the ice cover. This will be done using Coast Guard Arctic Domain Awareness (ADA) flights based out of Kodiak, Alaska.

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    Seasonal Ice Zone Reconnaissance Surveys Coordination

    The purpose of this project is coordination of the Seasonal Ice Zone Reconnaissance Surveys (SIZRS) program of repeated ocean, ice, and atmospheric measurements across the Beaufort-Chukchi sea seasonal sea ice zone (SIZ) utilizing US Coast Guard Arctic Domain Awareness (ADA) flights of opportunity. SIZRS, like the ONR Arctic and Global Prediction Program, is motivated by the rapid decline in summer ice extent that has occurred in recent years. The SIZ is the region between maximum winter sea ice extent and minimum summer sea ice extent. As such, it contains the full range of positions of the marginal ice zone (MIZ)…

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    Ocean Profile Measurements During the Seasonal Ice Zone Reconnaissance Surveys

    The purpose of this project is to make oceanographic profile measurements as part of a larger multidisciplinary effort to track and understand the changing seasonal sea ice zone (SIZ) of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. This is part of the overall Seasonal Ice Zone Reconnaissance Surveys (SIZRS) program at the Polar Science Center. SIZRS is motivated by the rapid decline in summer ice extent that has occurred in recent years. The SIZ is the region between maximum winter sea ice extent and minimum summer sea ice extent. As such, it contains the full range of positions of the marginal ice…

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    Impacts of Reduced Sea Ice on Atmospheric Heat, Precipitation Rates, and Ice Production

    In recent years the ice extent in the Arctic has been much reduced from that of historical norms and the ice-albedo feedback is often cited as a major factor in causing this accelerated summer ice retreat. An important countervailing feedback is the ice thickness-growth feedback wherein thin ice grows much more quickly in the winter than thick ice. The strength of this negative feedback mechanism depends on the rate heat is lost from the surface to the atmosphere.  The primary objectives of this project are to better understand how rapidly the extra summer heat absorbed in the Arctic Ocean in…

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    Planktonic Ecosystem Response to Changing Sea Ice and Upper Ocean Physics in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas: Modeling, Satellite and In Situ Observations

    We propose a study of the historical, contemporary, and future changes of the Chukchi and Beaufort marine planktonic ecosystem in response to changes in the sea ice cover and the upper ocean physics. Our scientific objectives are to:1) Synthesize the historical evolution of the biology-ice-ocean system in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas from 1978 to the present through modeling and analyses of satellite and in situ observations; quantify and understand the large-scale changes that have occurred in the sea ice, upper ocean, and marine planktonic ecosystem over the shelves and the basin.2) Identify key linkages and interactions between the sea…

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    Investigations of Spatial and Temporal Variability of Ocean and Ice Conditions In and Near the Marginal Ice Zone (MIZOPEX)

    Recent years have seen extreme changes in the Arctic sea ice cover and adjacent open ocean – reduced ice extent, record sea surface temperatures, thinner and younger ice, and loss of ice in areas that had been ice-covered throughout human memory.Particularly striking are changes within marginal ice zones (MIZ) – areas that are becoming increasingly covered by low concentration, diffuse sea ice.The proposed work, referred to here as the “Marginal Ice Zone Ocean and Ice Observations and Processes Experiment (MIZOPEX)”, brings to bear the capabilities of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in concert with in-situ observations and satellite remote sensing to…

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    Forecasting Changes in Habitat Use by Bowhead Whales in Response to Arctic Climate Change

    PI: Dr. Elizabeth HolmesCo-Investigator for APL: Jinlun ZhangThe effects of climate change are projected to be disproportionately pronounced in polar regions, where changes in the extent of Arctic sea ice will have an effect on all trophic levels. The endangered bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) is one of the largest animals in the Arctic, yet they feed on some of the smallest Arctic animals, zooplankton. Therefore, physically-induced bottom-up changes may be quickly reflected in the distribution of bowhead whales. Some of the important threats to bowhead whales include shipping and offshore oil drilling. Loss of sea ice in the Arctic has…

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    Reconstruction of the Eastern Bering Ice-Ocean System by Variational Assimilation of the BEST-BSIERP Data

    PI: Jinlun ZhangTremendous amounts of in situ and satellite data have been collected for the eastern Bering sea since 2007 in the framework of the Bering Sea Ecosystem STudy (BEST) and the Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BSIERP) funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the North Pacific Research Board. The rich collection of BEST-BSIERP observations and other sources of data provide an excellent opportunity for synthesis through modeling and data assimilation to improve understanding of changes in the physical forcings of the Bering ecosystem in response to climate change.This project will include the following three major goals.…

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    Interaction of Air, Sea Ice, and Ocean Around Antarctica

    Observations of surface air pressure (SAP) and surface air temperature (SAT) provide the foundation of our ability to forecast weather and ice conditions, and our ability to understand the earth’s climate and climate change. These basic variables are monitored through out the globe by weather stations on land, moored buoys along the coast, and drifting buoys in most of the world’s oceans. However, the Southern Ocean and sea ice around Antarctica continue to be one of the least sampled areas of the planet. This lack of observations around Antarctica hinders our ability to accurately predict weather (Bromwich and Cassano, 2001),…

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    Evaluation of Reanalysis Products in the Arctic

    How well can we estimate the state of the atmosphere and the rate it is changing in the polar regions in retrospective analyses? In the data sparse Arctic, atmospheric analyses are poorly constrained by observations and are strongly influenced by model parameterizations. There are currently seven different sets of global reanalysis products that are current or near current in temporal coverage: NCEP-1, NCEP-2, CFSR, 20CR, MERRA, ERA-Interim, and JRA-25 (definitions follow). Retrospective analyses have been a critical tool in studying weather and climate variability for the last 15 years.Reanalyses blend the continuity and breadth of output data from a numerical…

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    Bias-Corrected Sea Ice Thickness from Satellite, Aircraft, and Subsurface Measurements

    The primary objective of this research is to construct a comprehensive bias-corrected sea ice thickness record and use it to better quantify and understand the dramatic changes that have been observed in the Arctic ice pack. To do this all available Arctic sea ice thickness observations will be integrated, from satellite, aircraft, and subsurface measurements, and used to identify and correct systematic errors through comparisons with a common reference. With the resultant record four science questions will be answered:• What are the systematic differences between different measurement systems for sea ice thickness?• What are the spatial patterns in the trends…

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    Climate Change, Sea Ice Loss, and Polar Bears in Greenland

    This project aims to understand and quantify the effects of sea ice loss on polar bears in East and West Greenland (Baffin Bay).  Longitudinal (cross-time) comparisons of movement behavior and habitat selection will be driven by an analysis of a multi-decadal satellite telemetry dataset on polar bear movements in Baffin Bay and East Greenland, beginning when sea ice concentration and break up date started to decline (1991-1997) and encompassing present day conditions (2007-2013).

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    Technical and Scientific Support for the CryoDyn EV 2 Mission

    Ian Joughin serves as Deputy PI on the GSFC CryoDyn Earth Ventures 2 project. He is developing science and measurement objectives for the mission. He is also evaluating whether the mission and instrument are consistent with these objectives and provides expert advice to guide the mission planning and utilization of the data.

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    Comparison of GRACE with In Situ Ocean Bottom Pressure and Hydrography in the North Pole Region

    We this project will compare in situ measurements of ocean bottom pressure and hydrography with GRACE estimates of time-varying ocean bottom pressure. Arctic Bottom Pressure Recorders have been deployed and extensive hydrographic measurements have been made under other projects. Comparisons with some of these measurements suggest that GRACE can provide sorely needed large-scale, continuous information on the changing Arctic Ocean circulation. Our North Pole in situ measurements are particularly useful for GRACE validation because the GRACE footprint passes over the North Pole more frequently than any other ocean location on earth, making comparisons there robust. GRACE appears to provide our…

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    Sensitivity of Arctic Ocean Change to Background Mixing

    This project is motivated by recent findings showing the sensitivity of Arctic Ocean circulation to background deep-ocean diapycnal mixing. Mixing in the stratified ocean is related to internal wave energy, which tends to be low under the Arctic Ocean ice cover. Consequently, as ice cover declines background mixing may increase and, among other changes, bring more Atlantic Water heat to the surface to melt ice, a potentially important positive climate feedback. To understand the influence of background mixing and to improve models of the changing Arctic Ocean, we are taking advantage of the latest analysis techniques to examine existing internal…

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    Behavioral Ecology of Narwhals in a Changing Arctic

    The Arctic is currently undergoing rapid and extraordinary large-scale changes related to natural resource development, marine shipping, transportation, infrastructure, and sea ice loss, and as a consequence there will be an imminent and uniform increase in anthropogenic sound. Narwhals are an important representative species for understanding both increasing noise in the Arctic and loss of sea ice, and the joint effects of these impacts on their behavior and ecology.

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    Polar Science Weekend

    Polar Science Weekend is four days of hands-on activities, live demonstrations and exhibits presented by scientists who work in some of the most remote and challenging places on earth.  Polar Science Weekend is supported by a generous grant from NASA.

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    Altimetry Data Analysis in Support of the ICESat-2 Science Definition Team

    ICESat-2 is a satellite mission under development by NASA for launch in 2015.  It will make measurements of ice sheet elevations in Antarctica over a 3-5 year period, to accurately the shape of the ice sheet, and to show how the ice sheet is changing over time.  As the satellite is developed, the science definition team, made up of researchers from NASA and from several different universities, provides direction as to what scientific questions the satellite measurements must address.  APL researcher Ben Smith has joined the team to investigate how best to tailor the measurements to the characteristics of ice…

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    Salts and soils on Mars

    We propose to use data analysis and modeling to constrain the salt chemistry of the soil measured by Phoenix in the context of soil chemistry measured by the Viking Landers (VLs), Mars Pathfinder (MPF) and the two Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs).

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    Ocean Surfaces on Snowball Earth

    It is argued that today only Antarctica provides sufficiently analogous ice surfaces to the specialized ones that are thought to have occurred under a Snowball Earth scenario. A combination of field observations of cold snow-free sea ice, salt encrusted sea-ice surfaces and blue glacial ice, laboratory experiments and modeling will be carried out to test the viability of the Snowball Earth hypothesis.

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    Pan-Arctic climate and ecosystem response to historical and projected changes in the seasonality of sea ice melt and growth

    This project will carry out quantitative assessment of the drivers, effects, and ramifications of the seasonal timing of sea ice melt onset and freeze initiation over the observational record and using earth system model projections of future climate.

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    The Autonomous Polar Productivity Sampling System (APPSS)

    This part of the larger NASA ICESCAPE project examines the long-term, seasonal variability in phytoplankton abundance as a function of changes in sea ice cover, stratification, and temperature regimes measured in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas throughout the growing season.

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    Sea Ice, Sunlight, and Biogeochemistry in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in a Changing Climate

    The focus of this project is to work collaboratively with Dr. Donald Perovich (CRREL) in support of a NASA sponsored program, ICESCAPES. Bonnie Light will support this project by helping to characterize the morphological and optical properties of the sea ice cover through field measurements, radiative transfer modeling, and synthesis.

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    Greenland Meltwater Geomicrobiology

    This project characterizes the Greenland Ice Sheet’s subglacial microbial communities to investigate the effect of microbes on lithospheric weathering and nutrient fluxes from the GrIS margin in West Greenland.

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    Metabolic Activities and Gene Expression of Marine Psychrophiles in Cold Ice

    This project will explore the relationship between deep-freeze bacterial activity, proteomics, polymers and the physical state of the ice and will provide important keys to questions regarding life under extreme conditions, be it in the various ice formations here on Earth, the atmosphere or elsewhere in the universe.

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    Sea Ice Thickness Estimates Obtained from Satellites Using Submarines and Other In Situ Observations

    We compare the observations of arctic sea ice thickness estimates from satellites with in situ observations – collected by submarine cruises and moorings under the sea ice, by direct measurement during field camps, by electromagnetic instruments flown over the sea ice, and by buoys drifting with the sea ice – to provide a careful assessment of our capabilities to monitor the thickness of sea ice.

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    A New Unified Sea Ice Thickness Climate Data Record

    This new data set is a concerted effort to collect as many observations of sea ice thickness as possible in one place with consistent formats and with clear and abundant documentation. It will allow the community to better utilize what is now a considerable body of observations from moorings, submarines, aircraft, and satellites.

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    Response of Cloud Cover to Changes in Sea Ice

    Clouds play a major role in the arctic surface energy balance controlling the growth and melt of sea ice. At the same time the processes involved in the formation, maintenance and dissipation of cloud cover over the Arctic Ocean are thought to be strongly influenced by the sea ice itself. This project will advance the understanding of this interaction and feedback by asking: What is the response of Arctic clouds to diminishing sea ice?

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    Greenland Ice Mapping Project: Measuring rapid changes in ice flow

    Numerous recent studies have revealed rapid change in ice discharge from Greenland’s outlet glaciers. A near doubling in flow speed of many of Greenland’s glaciers substantially increased the rate at which the ice sheet calved icebergs to the ocean over the last five years.

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    Total Antarctic Ice Sheet Discharge: an IPY Benchmark Data Set

    We are employing new remote sensing methods applied to multiple satellite data sets to measure the total discharge of ice from the grounded Antarctic Ice Sheet. This effort also will provide the most comprehensive mapping ever of the grounding line position, as well as ice thickness and velocity along and in the vicinity of the grounding line. These products are sensitive indicators of changes and will serve as benchmark data sets of the International Polar Year suitable for subsequent comparisons to identify and quantify future changes in the ice sheet.

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    International Polar Year Collaborative Research: Constraining the Mass-Balance Deficit of the Amundsen Coast’s glaciers

    PI: Ian Joughin The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is losing mass, in large part because of rapid thinning of the Amundsen Coast glaciers. Estimates of Amundsen Coast thinning range from 46 to 86 Gtons/yr, with the 40-Gton/yr difference in estimates being nearly equivalent to the combined outflow of Mercer, Whillans, Kamb, and Bindschadler ice streams (46 Gtons/yr). While warmer ocean temperatures may drive this thinning, the large uncertainties in the current mass balance estimates largely arise from poor knowledge of the snowfall accumulation over Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith, Pope and Kohler glaciers. This International Polar Year project is determining accumulation rates in this vastly under-sampled region to remove the large uncertainties in current mass balance estimates.

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    Elevation Change Anomalies in West Antarctica – Do They Provide Constraints on Subglacial Water Transport Beneath Ice Streams and Their Tributaries?

    We are using field and remote sensing data to investigate Elevation Change Anomalies (ECAs) discovered recently in the Ross Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), which reveal the filling and draining of subglacial lakes.

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    Antarctic Ice Shelf Change and Basal Melt Using ICESat, Cryosat, and Other Satellite Data

    Deeply embayed ice shelves and narrower fringing ice shelves surround much of Antarctica. Recent results indicate that these ice shelves help regulate the flow of upstream glaciers and ice streams (“ice-shelf buttressing”). This investigation focuses on determining the mass balance of Antarctica’s non-Peninsula ice shelves and on improving our knowledge of the processes that control basal melt.

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  • controlsonicestreamflow

    An Investigation of Controls on Ice Stream Flow Using Models Constrained by Satellite and Ground Observations

    This investigation’s major goal is to develop and use models constrained by satellite and ground observations to study the controls on fast ice stream flow.

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    Polar Science Hydrographic Climatology (PHC)

    The Polar Science Center Hydrographic Climatology (PHC) merges the 1998 version of the World Ocean Atlas (Antonov et al., 1998; Boyer et al., 1998) with the regional Arctic Ocean Atlas (EWG, 1997; 1998) creating a global climatology for temperature and salinity that contains a good description of the Arctic Ocean and its environs.

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    Implications of Arctic Sea Ice Reduction on Tropospheric Bromine, Ozone, and Mercury Chemical Process, Transport, and Distribution

    The objective of this project is to investigate impacts of Arctic sea ice reduction on bromine, ozone, and mercury chemical processes, transport, and distribution from sea ice surfaces on the Arctic Ocean, and atmospheric transport of these chemicals to high mountains on land.

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    Arctic Sea Ice Volume Anomaly

    The Arctic Sea Ice Volume Anomaly time series is calculated using the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS) developed at APL/PSC.  Updates will be generated at approximately monthly intervals.

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    Variability and Trends in Antarctic Sea Ice

    This project will investigate, through modeling and data assimilation, the historical evolution of the Antarctic sea ice–ocean system from 1979 to the present to enhance our understanding of the large-scale changes that have occurred in the sea ice and the upper ocean in response to changes in atmospheric circulation.

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    UpTempO: Measuring the Upper Layer Temperature of the Arctic Ocean

    This project aims to measure the time history of summer warming and subsequent fall cooling of the seasonally open water areas of the Arctic Ocean. Investigators will focus on those areas with the greatest ice retreat i.e., the northern Beaufort, Chukchi, East Siberian, and Laptev seas. Their method will be to build up to 10 relatively inexpensive ocean thermistor string buoys per year, to be deployed in the seasonally ice-free regions of the Arctic Ocean. Arctic-ADOS buoy data will be provided to both the research and operational weather forecasting communities in near real time on the International Arctic Buoy Program (IABP) web site.

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    The Important Little Life of Dylan Diatom

    PI: Mike Steele A 3D animation, “The Important Little Life of Dylan Diatom,” shows the plight of a diatom in the Arctic Ocean. This slice of Dylan’s life, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and animated by student Anna Czoski, shows middle school students the role of phytoplankton in the Arctic.

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    The Fate of Summertime Arctic Ocean Heating: A Study of Ice-Albedo Feedback on Seasonal to Interannual Time Scales

    PI: Mike Steele; Co-I Ron Lindsay, Axel Schweiger, Jinlun Zhang The main objective of this study is to determine the fate of solar energy absorbed by the arctic seas during summer, with a specific focus on its impact on the sea ice pack. Investigators further seek to understand the fate of this heat during the winter and even beyond to the following summer.

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    The Arctic Ocean Model Intercomparison Project (AOMIP): Synthesis and Integration

    The AOMIP science goals are to validate and improve Arctic Ocean models in a coordinated fashion and investigate variability of the Arctic Ocean and sea ice at seasonal to decadal time scales, and identify mechanisms responsible for the observed changes.

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