Media Advisory
12 April 2012

NSIDC science at IPY 2012

shari on the ice

NSIDC researcher Shari Gearheard (right) and hunter Lasalie Jonasie (left) keep an eye on a polar bear while traveling on Arctic sea ice. Gearheard leads the ELOKA project, a unique effort to document local and traditional environmental knowledge in the Arctic. NSIDC scientist Peter Pulsifer will talk about the project at IPY 2012.
—Credit: Edward Wingate
High Resolution Image

National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) scientists will present new research at the 2012 International Polar Year (IPY) Conference in Montreal, Canada, from April 23 to 27. IPY ran from 2007 to 2008, but researchers are still working on data collected during the effort. Below, find highlights of potential interest to journalists. For more information, contact NSIDC Press Liaison Natasha Vizcarra at

The mission of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) is to improve our understanding of the Earth's frozen realms. This includes our planet's floating sea ice cover, lake ice, glaciers, ice sheets, snow cover and frozen ground, collectively known as the cryosphere. The National Snow and Ice Data Center is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, at the University of Colorado Boulder.


A Conceptual Framework for Managing Very Diverse Data for Complex, Interdisciplinary Science. Lessons from the IPY

Mark Parsons
10:00 a.m., Tuesday 24 April, Room 524C

The International Polar Year 2007-2008 (IPY) was a good case study in data management. Researchers produced huge amounts of very diverse data covering complex interdisciplinary science. Now that the research is completed, what will happen to these data? How will they be archived and made available for future generations? NSIDC data expert Mark Parsons discusses strategies for long-term data management solutions to the challenges of diverse data.

The Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic: Building a Network Across Knowledge Domains

Peter Pulsifer
11:45 a.m., Tuesday 24 April, Room 520BC

NSIDC researchers are working with indigenous Arctic people to document and understand environmental changes that are occurring there. People who live in the Arctic are noticing and documenting changes to weather, climate, and sea ice conditions. Pulsifer will discuss the Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic (ELOKA) project, a unique effort to share and preserve information about local environmental knowledge. For more information on the ELOKA project, attend Pulsifer's second talk at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, ELOKA: Technical Approaches for Indigenous Knowledge Documentation (room 520A).

A New Sea Ice Concentration Climate Data Record for Monitoring Arctic Change and Variability

Walt Meier
10:15 a.m., Thursday 26 April, Room 520BC

Scientists from NSIDC and NOAA are collaborating to produce a consistent, long-term data record for sea ice, known as a climate data record (CDR), to better document long-term changes in sea ice and climate. Data on sea ice extent are one of the most important indicators of climate change. In the Arctic Ocean, sea ice has declined by more than 30 percent since 1979. But scientists use a variety of algorithms and data sources to study sea ice and the methods are not always completely documented. Meier will talk about the development of the new sea ice CDR, which aims to provide clear data so that researchers can better understand how climate is changing.

Assessment of Arctic Sea Ice in the CMIP5 Climate Models

ted and amigos on the ice

Ted Scambos poses with the AMIGOS station, a weather, GPS, and camera station set up to record changes on the Scar Inlet Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Scambos will discuss his project during a poster session at IPY 2012.
Credit: Ted Scambos
High Resolution Image

Julienne Stroeve
11:45 a.m. Friday 27 April, Room 516D

Researchers are working on new climate models that better capture observed changes in the climate system, such as the rapid retreat in the Arctic sea ice cover during the last 50 years. Climate models in the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) grossly underestimated the amount of observed sea ice loss. Sea ice plays an important role in the climate system, and may contribute to feedbacks that would further warm the Arctic. Stroeve will discuss the latest efforts to improve sea ice projections for the next IPCC report, AR5, scheduled for publication in 2014.

Towards the Next Antarctic Ice Shelf Disintegration? Recent Changes in the Larsen B Ice Shelf Remnant and its Tributary Glaciers

Ted Scambos
Poster Presentation: Tuesday 5:00 p.m.

New data show that the Scar Inlet Ice Shelf is likely to disintegrate in the near future, potentially allowing the glaciers that flow into it to speed up. Scar Inlet is the last remaining portion of the Larsen C, the large Antarctic ice shelf that collapsed dramatically in 2002. Since then, researchers have been carefully monitoring the remaining area of the ice shelf, which buttresses two large glaciers, the Flask and Leppard. Data from GPS and weather monitoring stations at Scar Inlet show that temperatures have remained above average and snow accumulation has been low, two conditions that might be tied to ice shelf collapse. Satellite data suggest that if the Scar Inlet portion of the ice shelf collapses, the glaciers behind it will likely speed up, moving more ice from the Antarctic Ice Sheet into the ocean.

More information

Contact: For further inquiries, please contact Natasha Vizcarra at or +1 303.492.1497.

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