polar science

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Upcoming Scientific Fieldwork: 2017 and Beyond

On every continent and ocean, Earth Institute field researchers are studying the dynamics of climate, geology, natural hazards, ecology and other subjects with direct applications to the challenges facing humanity.

by |March 6, 2017
Coauthor Pierre Dutrieux with an instrument that detects fluctuations in ocean water, Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica, Jan. 31, 2017. A similar instrument was used to show why fresh water from melting ice shelves settles far below the surface instead of rising. (Courtesy Pierre Dutrieux/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Scientists Say They Now Know Why Antarctic Meltwater Stays Below Ocean Surface

Up to now, it has been a mystery why much of the fresh water resulting from the melting of Antarctic ice shelves ends up in the depths instead of floating above saltier, denser ocean waters. Scientists working along one major ice shelf believe they have found the answer.

by |February 2, 2017
Scientists launch a Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System (MOCNESS) from the R/V Gould off the West Antarctic Peninsula. When towed behind a research vessel, the system’s nets collect plankton while sensors provide real-time information about the physical properties of the seawater. Photo: Naomi Shelton/LDEO

Antarctic Scientists Honor Obama by Collecting Climate Data

Researchers studying the West Antarctic Peninsula marine ecosystem will recognize President Obama’s efforts to combat global warming by collecting climate data at an oceanographic station they named for the 44th president.

by |January 19, 2017
Fossilized leaves hold evidence of a sharp increase in carbon dioxide levels as the Antarctic ice sheet began to shrink 23 million years ago, a new study finds. This magnified image of a fossilized Litsea calicarioides leaf clearly shows the stomata, through which leaves take in CO2 and release oxygen. (Tammo Reichgelt/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory)

Ancient Leaves Link Loss of Antarctic Ice to a CO2 Spike

Twenty-three million years ago, the Antarctic Ice Sheet began to shrink, going from an expanse larger than today’s to one about half its modern size. Ancient fossilized leaves retrieved from a lake bed in New Zealand now show for the first time that carbon dioxide levels increased dramatically over a relatively short period of time as the ice sheet began to deteriorate.

by |October 12, 2016
During our transit south to Antarctica we deployed seven ARGO floats (yellow device in picture) for the University of Washington. They drift with the currents in the oceans, measure profiles of salinity and temperature and send those via satellite to researchers on land. They are part of an international effort to better monitor the conditions of the oceans.

Closing in on Antarctica

We are less than a day away from our first study area on the continental shelf in front of the Dibble Glacier. As we approach Antarctica we are starting our science program with a 4500 meter deep CTD and multibeam acquisition.

by |April 6, 2015
Map showing the planned track of our expedition with the modifications made due to the storm systems. Our main study areas are on the continental shelf in front of some major East Antarctic glaciers.

On Our Way: Avoiding the Storm

We are now aboard the R/V Palmer and on our way to East Antarctica. Due to two storms in our direct way we are heading west first to go around the storms and we’ll then head south on their backside.

by |March 30, 2015
The icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer, our home for the next seven weeks, docked at the pier in Hobart, Tasmania.

Preparing for Seven Weeks at Sea

For our spring expedition, NBP1503, to the margin of East Antarctica we will live and work on board the United States icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer. Together we are eight scientists, 10 science support staff and 19 crew members of the ship’s crew.

by |March 23, 2015
Lamont scientists Robin Bell, Chris Bertinato, Nick Frearson, Winnie Chu and Tej Dhakal with IcePod.

Exploring Antarctica by Sea, Air and Land

Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory scientists are among the many researchers currently doing fieldwork in Antarctica. They’re participating in expeditions near, above and on the continent, doing critical studies that will advance understanding of Antarctica’s land and sea processes.

by |December 8, 2014