PolarTREC Program Update

After wrapping up several Arctic expeditions this summer, we are excited to announce that we are supporting our 2020 educators and teams on their PolarTREC expeditions to Antarctica starting this fall. We hope you will join us virtually by reading journals, posting comments, participating in live events from the field, and learning more about the polar regions!

We expect one additional NSF-funded Arctic PolarTREC educator to deploy on their expedition in 2023, after which the PolarTREC funding and grant will end. ARCUS will, however, continue to be actively engaged in education-research collaborations; building community; sharing successes; and supporting alumni, teachers, researchers, and the broader community.

Join the Polar Education List to continue to stay connected and learn about new resources, opportunities, and activities.

2022 Expeditions

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Photo by John Wood.\n\nThe participants of the International Arctic Buoy Program (IABP) work together to maintain a network of drifting buoys in the Arctic Ocean to provide meteorological and oceanographic data for real-time operational requirements and research purposes including support to the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the World Weather Watch (WWW) Programme. Data from the IABP have many uses. For example: 1. Research in Arctic climate and climate change, 2. Forecasting weather and ice conditions, 3. Validation of satellites, 4. Forcing, validation and assimilation into numerical climate models, and 5. Tracking the source and fate of samples taken from the ice. Over 1000 publications have benefited from observations from the IABP.\n\nSarah and the team will be headed out for a second deployment to Thule, Greenland in June-July 2022."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"71.29056","lon":"-156.78861"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/Lau_P6080085_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2022-04-24T12:00:00Z\">24 April 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2022-05-14T12:00:00Z\">14 May 2022<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/greenland-subglacial-tremor-project\" hreflang=\"en\">Greenland Subglacial Tremor Project<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">24 April 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">14 May 2022<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Ilulissat, Greenland and West Greenland Ice Sheet <br \/>\n\nThe Greenland Ice Sheet near Kangerslussuaq, Greenland. Photo by Tina Ciarametaro.\n\nEstimates of the Greenland ice sheet's contribution to sea level rise over the next century range from a few centimeters to over one meter. Differences of a few millimeters per year may be significant in lowlying, populous coastal areas where planning with such a large range of uncertainty has high economic and social costs for governments, communities, and businesses. This study will improve our understanding of how increases in surface runoff will influence ice flow and subsequent loss of water mass from the Greenland ice sheet to the oceans."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"69.2198","lon":"-51.0986"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/Ciarametaro_IMG_2592_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2022-07-17T12:00:00Z\">17 July 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2022-08-17T12:00:00Z\">17 August 2022<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/harmful-algal-blooms-in-arctic-waters\" hreflang=\"en\">Harmful Algal Blooms in Arctic Waters<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">17 July 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">17 August 2022<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Ship-based in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas <br \/>\n\nIce algae in the northern Chukchi Sea. Photo by Sandra Thornton.\n\nAs ocean temperatures warm, in particular the shallow Chukchi Sea, many organisms may spread into Arctic waters. Some of these present significant threats to human and ecosystem health, such as harmful algal bloom (HAB) species (commonly called red tides). The potent neurotoxins that these species produce can affect marine mammals, seabirds, and other resources critical to subsistence harvesters.\n\nAt the same time, little is known about the present and future risk from toxic algae to humans in the Pacific Arctic region. This study will be the first to document the current distribution of highly toxic HAB species over large spatial scales within the Alaskan Arctic and will provide estimates of areas at high risk of toxicity now and in a warming future. The hypothesis underlying this project is that HABs in Alaskan Arctic waters are not only transported from the south through Bering Strait but are now originating locally on the Chukchi shelf due to warming temperatures, circulation dynamics, and water mass structure. These factors influence bloom magnitude, duration, toxicity, and recurrence. This will be addressed through a joint physical-biological field and laboratory program to study the relationship between HAB species distribution\/dynamics and the physical environment of the Chukchi Sea region.\n\nThe distribution of HAB species on the Chukchi shelf will be mapped in relation to hydrography and circulation, including a comprehensive survey of the Alaskan Coastal Current which transports the warmest water in the Chukchi Sea. A range of molecular and physiological tools will be used to investigate the origin, connectivity, and fate of HAB populations in the region. Sediment profiling will establish a historical record of blooms along the major transport pathways to the western Arctic. This information will be used to generate conceptual models of the origin, transport, and fate of HABs in the Chukchi Sea region."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"56.9073","lon":"-178.1395"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/Bartlett_Brown_EvieWorking_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2022-07-10T12:00:00Z\">10 July 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2022-08-05T12:00:00Z\">5 August 2022<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/effects-of-lemmings-on-the-arctic-tundra-ecosystem\" hreflang=\"en\">Effects of Lemmings on the Arctic Tundra Ecosystem<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">10 July 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">5 August 2022<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Utqia\u0121vik, Alaska <br \/>\n\nLemming in Utqia\u0121vik, Alaska\n\nThe team plans to use observations and experiments and models to understand how the fluctuations in the numbers of small mammal herbivores on the tundra, both within and between years, affect tundra ecosystem function (such as the abundance of different types of plants, the quality of plant litter and nutrient cycling) and energy balance. They will determine natural changes in small mammal population sizes in three different Alaskan tundra ecosystems (at Utqia\u0121vik, Nome and Toolik Lake), and also use experiments in each ecosystem where they control the number of small mammals that have access to small areas of the tundra, to determine how this affects the way the ecosystem works."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"71.2906","lon":"-156.7886"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/polly_z_008_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2023-08-01T12:00:00Z\">1 August 2023<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2023-08-15T12:00:00Z\">15 August 2023<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/education-knowledge-and-the-narwhal\" hreflang=\"en\">Education, Knowledge, and the Narwhal<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">1 August 2023<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">15 August 2023<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Kakkiat Point, Arctic Bay, Nunavut, Canada <br \/>\n\n Isumaqatingniq, the Inuktitut word for expressing, \u201cthinking together\u201d describes the process proposed for our educational collaborative to integrate knowledge frames of traditional Inuit knowledge and STEM. Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ), or Inuit knowledge literally translates in Inuktitut to mean \u201ca way of knowing\u201d and science are two ways of knowing the natural and physical world. Both have a useful, complimentary, and insightful methodology. Holders of IQ and scientists are learning to better understand the benefits of each knowledge frame, though seldom do they fully appreciate the discipline or practice of the other, and even less often do they actively integrate these two knowledge approaches. More importantly, future generations of children from Inuit and other First Nations groups rarely have a welcoming entre into scientific studies through their oral tradition of IQ. Similarly, students in countries adopting scientific study or STEM as part of their core curriculum, rarely get introduced to IQ or other knowledge perspectives until pursuing more advanced studies in social science. This study will bridge these systems of thought and knowledge models through educational settings, by establishing baseline content during workshops with Inuit and non-Inuit elders, hunters and experts representing both knowledge frames as they apply to the study and knowledge of the narwhal. Print and Video educational modules will be prepared as an educational adjunct for science courses directed initially for high school students and a joint presentation with representative students from each group during United Nations Indigenous Day, October 12th, 2020."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"73.0376","lon":"-85.148"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/2754_T_Wright_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2022-07-05T12:00:00Z\">5 July 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2022-07-31T12:00:00Z\">31 July 2022<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/investigating-ecosystem-carbon-response-in-boreal-forests\" hreflang=\"en\">Investigating Ecosystem Carbon Response in Boreal Forests<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">5 July 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">31 July 2022<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Caribou-Poker Creek, Alaska <br \/>\n\nMeasuring the CO2 flux between the soil and atmosphere\n\nThis study focuses on a leaf-to-watershed analysis at the Caribou-Poker Creek (BONA) Watershed in Alaska. The team will work closely with NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network). Specifically, they are looking to answer \u201cWhat are the environmental and biological controls of photosynthetic phenology in permafrost-affected boreal forests?\u201d. They will use an approach that incorporates high-frequency observations of solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) as an indicator of vegetation gross primary productivity (GPP), and L-band microwave backscattering intensity as an indicator of canopy water content. These measurements will be complemented by a suite of observations including leaf and ecosystem gas exchange, and environmental measurements (e.g., soil temperature, soil moisture, water flow velocity) along a soil-to-vegetation continuum."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"65.18077914","lon":"147.4897317"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/expeditions\/img\/youngimg56130.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2022-10-25T12:00:00Z\">25 October 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2022-12-15T12:00:00Z\">15 December 2022<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/microbial-interactions-in-antarctic-lakes\" hreflang=\"en\">Microbial Interactions in Antarctic Lakes<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">25 October 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">15 December 2022<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica <br \/>\n\nMicrobial communities are more than just a scientific curiosity. Microbes represent the single largest source of evolutionary and biochemical diversity on the planet. They are the major agents for cycling carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other elements through the ecosystem. Despite their importance in ecosystem function, microbes are still generally overlooked in food web models and nutrient cycles.\n\nMoreover, microbes do not live in isolation: their growth and metabolism are influenced by complex interactions with other microorganisms. This project will focus on the ecology, activity, and roles of microbial communities in Antarctic Lake ecosystems."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"-77.72","lon":"162.29"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/expeditions\/img\/dickersonp2030158.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2022-12-24T12:00:00Z\">24 December 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2023-01-24T12:00:00Z\">24 January 2023<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/icecube-and-the-askaryan-radio-array-2022\" hreflang=\"en\">IceCube and The Askaryan Radio Array 2022<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">24 December 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">24 January 2023<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> South Pole Station, Antarctica <br \/>\n\nA Digital Optical Module (DOM) hanging in the IceCube Lab at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica. Photo by Kate Miller.\n\nIceCube is located at the South Pole and records the interactions of a nearly massless sub-atomic messenger particle called the neutrino. IceCube searches for neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical sources: events like exploding stars, gamma ray bursts, and cataclysmic phenomena involving black holes and neutron stars.\n\nThe IceCube Neutrino Observatory is a powerful tool to search for dark matter, and could reveal the new physical processes associated with the enigmatic origin of the highest energy particles in nature. In addition, IceCube studies the neutrinos themselves using the 100,000 neutrinos detected per year produced by cosmic rays in the atmosphere. Their energies far exceed those from accelerator beams. IceCube encompasses a cubic kilometer of instrumented ice, and is the largest detector by volume ever built.\n\nThe fully built ARA project, also located at the South Pole, will have an effective volume 100 times bigger than IceCube. The trade off is that it is only capable of observing radio waves from extremely high energy neutrinos, a million times more energetic than the neutrinos produced by cosmic rays in the atmosphere. This neutrinos are extremely rare, which is why such a large detector is needed to increase the chance of seeing one."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"-90","lon":"-139.2667"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/Miller_IceCubeLab_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2022-12-26T12:00:00Z\">26 December 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2023-02-15T12:00:00Z\">15 February 2023<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/dry-valleys-ecosystem-study-2022\" hreflang=\"en\">Dry Valleys Ecosystem Study 2022<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">26 December 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">15 February 2023<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> McMurdo Station and Dry Valleys, Antarctica <br \/>\n\nDr. Thomas Powers and Natasha Griffin collect soil samples at the F6 site in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Photo by Kevin Dickerson.\n\nThe McMurdo Dry Valleys Long-Term Ecological Research (MCM LTER) Program is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary study of the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in an ice-free region of Antarctica. MCM joined the National Science Foundation's LTER Network in 1993 and is funded through the Office of Polar Programs in six year funding periods.\n\nThe McMurdo Dry Valleys (77\u00b030'S 163\u00b000'E) on the shore of McMurdo Sound, 2,200 miles (3,500 km) due south of New Zealand, form the largest relatively ice-free area (approximately 4,800 sq km) on the Antarctic continent. These ice-free areas of Antarctica display a sharp contrast to most other ecosystems in the world, which exist under far more moderate environmental conditions. The perennially ice-covered lakes, ephemeral streams and extensive areas of exposed soil within the McMurdo Dry Valleys are subject to low temperatures, limited precipitation and salt accumulation. The dry valleys represent a region where life approaches its environmental limits, and is an end-member in the spectrum of environments included in the LTER Network.\n\nThe overarching goal of MCM LTER research is to document and understand how ecosystems respond to environmental changes."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"-77.5","lon":"163"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/Dickerson_P1200001%20_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2022-10-29T12:00:00Z\">29 October 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2022-12-10T12:00:00Z\">10 December 2022<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/antarctic-automatic-weather-stations-2021\" hreflang=\"en\">Antarctic Automatic Weather Stations 2021<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">29 October 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">10 December 2022<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> McMurdo Station, Antarctica <br \/>\n\nThe team raises meteorological instrument equipment onto the Sabrina Automatic Weather Station (AWS), Antarctica. Photo by David Mikolajczyk, Courtesy of Michael Penn.\n\nThe Antarctic Automatic Weather Station (AWS) network has been making meteorological observations since the early 1980s. This continent-wide network is positioned to observe significant meteorological events and increase our understanding of the climate of the Antarctic surface. Researchers utilize the AWS network to observe and learn about the Antarctic in a warming world. Given the duration of the AWS program and maintaining AWS sites for many years, numerous studies have been conducted on the surface climatology of regions of the continent, such as the Ross Ice Shelf. This climatology also aids in other studies, like winter warming events.\n\nThe Antarctic Automatic Weather Station network provides a greater understanding of the surface meteorology and climatology throughout the continent of Antarctica. The AWS network spans the Ross Ice Shelf, Ross Island, West Antarctica, East Antarctica, and the South Pole. Since some of the AWS have been working for over 30 years, we can begin to understand the climate over many regions of Antarctica."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"-77.8419","lon":"166.6863"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/Penn_IMG_1314_800px.jpg"}}]}}

International Polar Week 2022

Illustration of the equinoxes.

It's that time of year when we educate and celebrate the equinox! The International Polar Week Collection is a collection of resources that celebrate the Equinoxes. Starting in 2012, International Polar Week is celebrated twice a year, in March and in September. The Equinoxes are the only time when everywhere on earth the day length is 12 hours, a perfect opportunity to celebrate the poles on a global scale!

Latest Journals

26 September 2022 Learning New Things

By: Lucy Coleman
Dry Valleys LTER areas of study
Learning new things is HARD! I have been plunged into the uncomfortable role of a learner since I don't know as much science as the people around me. I have to ask for help to understand stuff, I need to be corrected sometimes. It's very humbling and makes me wonder how often my students feel this…

5 September 2022 Antarctic Dreams

By: Lucy Coleman
View of Dry Valleys lake
It's going to be 110 degrees here today. Everyone I know is hiding from the heat. Watching movies inside. Making trips to the Lake. Staying in the pool. As for me, I am also dreaming of the Ice. For people in the Polar Science community, Antarctica is simply and affectionately known as "The Ice".…

3 September 2022 Back On Land

By: Rebecca Siegel
Norseman II Leg 1 team
Demob We used the crane to load and unload some very large pieces of equipment. Here, Tony and Casey are helping to transfer a frame to hold an incubator onboard. We docked in Nome at 9:00 am (0900 hours on a ship) on Monday, August 15, 2022. Things immediately got really busy. The scientists…

14 August 2022 No place like Nome

By: Rebecca Siegel
Sea State: one foot seas Sea Surface Temperature: 53 F Wild Weather The storm continued all night and into the morning. The pitching of the ship tossed us around in our bunks all night. Walking around required grabbing walls and furniture for balance. With waves reaching ten feet, the crew asked…

13 August 2022 Back in the Bering Sea

By: Rebecca Siegel
CTD retrieval
Sea State: 6 foot swells Sea Surface Temperature: 43 F A Bouncy Ride With 6 foot swells, it is too rough to deploy the CTD and other equipment. We finished our zig-zag course collecting surface water and current data from the Bering Strait early this morning. The zig-zag took us on a course…

13 August 2022 All About the Van

By: Rebecca Siegel
Nighttime CTD
Sea State: 6-10 foot seas Sea Surface Tempeature: 42 F Stormy Seas Around 3:00 this morning I heard the engines changing as we came to a station. They were able to quickly squeeze in the CTD and a sediment grab, but since then it has been too rough. As I write this we are crossing the northern…

PolarTREC Updates

Arctic Youth Ambassadors Program is Now Accepting Applications

Arctic Youth Ambassadors Program

The Arctic Youth Ambassadors Program is now open. Ambassadors must be between the ages of 18-21 by January 2023 and must be residents of Alaska (out-of-state university students eligible). For accepted applicants there is no tuition or fee to participate and required transportation expenses will be covered by the program. To learn more about the Arctic Youth Ambassador Program, attend an optional virtual Question and Answer Session with AYA alumni. Q&A Sessions will be hosted on September 6 at 5:30pm and September 16 at 2pm.

Contact aya [at] alaskaconservation.org to apply or nominate an Alaskan youth.

Deadline: September 25, 2022.

Diversity and Inclusivity Coordinator Position Available

UA Careers

The International Arctic Research Center (IARC) at UAF is hiring a Diversity and Inclusivity Coordinator. This person will lead the enhancement of IARC’s Diversity and Inclusivity work to include justice, equity and access; build on the IARC Diversity and Inclusivity program and initiatives for our staff, researchers, faculty and students; promote diversity, equity, inclusivity, justice, and access efforts with other UAF units, and will serve as the primary liaison between IARC and UAF Department of Equity and Compliance. This person will align IARC’s Diversity and Inclusivity activities with UAF’s Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence. This person will support and be a resource for IARC efforts for equitable, ethical, and respectful engagement with historically marginalized groups, and align relationship building with Indigenous Peoples and communities while honoring and including Indigenous Knowledge. IARC is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, follow this link to IARC's DEI statement https://uaf-iarc.org/about-iarc/

Review of applications will begin on 3 October 2022. Questions can be directed to Dr. Elena Bautista Sparrow (ebsparrow [at] alaska.edu), the hiring committee chair.

More can be found on the UA job information webpage.

PSECCO Conference Travel Grant Program launched for US-based polar early career scientists and educators


The Polar Science Early Career Community Office (PSECCO) is opening the PSECCO Conference Travel Grant Program to US-based polar early career scientists and educators who are in need of funding to attend an international or domestic conference at which they intend to present polar science-related content. Travel funding grants aim to support polar early career scientists and educators with demonstrated financial need. The deadline by which to apply is August 14, 2022 at 11.59pm MT.

Find people, expeditions, and resources

PolarTREC has hosted 193 expeditions and houses over 2,000 resources for educational use.

Locate Team Members

Check out our member directory to locate a team member from a current or previous PolarTREC expedition.

Follow Expeditions

All current and past expeditiions are listed in reverse chronological order for viewing.

Find Resources

Lesson plans, activities, articles, web links and more can be found in our resources section.