Studying the Cryosphere

Ice Trek: Exploring the Lifecycle of a Drifting Antarctic Iceberg

Ice Trek thumbnailIn February of 2006, four American and two Argentine scientists boarded a helicopter and flew to an iceberg adrift near the Antarctic Peninsula. The tools the team deployed on the iceberg gathered data that will help us understand the future of Antarctica and beyond.

Read about their mission and the results of the research here.

Megadunes thumbnailScientists from NSIDC spent two Antarctic field seasons studying one of the little-known megadunes areas of the continent. The NSIDC research team worked with other researchers and support staff in extreme weather conditions to gather data in one of the most remote parts of the world.

Unlike snow dunes that are piles of drifted snow, Antarctic megadunes are long, undulating waves up to thirteen feet high in the surface of the ice sheet. Read more ...

Field photoIn 1972, a group of scientists set up camp on ice floes in the Beaufort Sea. The AIDJEX program was the first major Western sea ice experiment constructed specifically to answer questions about how sea ice moves and changes in response to the influence of ocean and atmosphere. This 1972 pilot study was followed by the AIDJEX field program in 1975 and 1976.

The experiment was designed to collect coordinated measurements over at least one year, in order to have the right combination of data for understanding atmosphere and ice interactions. Read more ...

Research in Harsh Conditions: Field work on the East Antarctic Plateau may sound like a fun adventure. But imagine coming in from working in the constant freezing wind to warm up in a tent that is 28°F. As NSIDC researcher Ted Scambos says, "Staying warm and protecting your skin are the main concerns. Temperatures are frigid even in summer, -5 to -22°F. But the wind is the real danger." Wind chill temperatures can reach -51°F. Now imagine living and working in those conditions for weeks.