Virtual Base Camp

Expeditions by Year

Welcome to the Virtual Base Camp, the starting point for your exploration of the polar regions with PolarTREC teachers and researchers!

PolarTREC expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctica can be found here starting in 2007 to 2015. You can also access archived expeditions to the Arctic that took place through TREC in 2004-2006. Journals, photos, ask the team forums, and information about each expedition can be found by following the links to all the expeditions. Use the Expedition Search feature to narrow your choices or find a particular expedition or region. Use the Members feature to find teachers and researchers involved with PolarTREC expeditions.

A new feature to the Virtual Base Camp are Projects. Projects are expeditions that had teachers for more than one year. You can learn more about the science and see all the teachers and researchers involved in the research project over two or more years. You can also access all the related project resources (presentations, lessons, PolarConnect events, etc.) related to the projects.

2017 Expeditions

Organization: 
Stoneman Douglas High School
Occupation: 
Teacher
Photo by Russell Hood
Dates:
8 April 2017 to 3 May 2017
Location:
Kangerlussuaq, Thule AFB, Greenland
What Are They Doing?
Icebergs the size of a city block in eastern Greenland. Photo by Russell Hood. IceBridge is in its 8th year as a NASA mission and is the largest airborne survey of Earth's polar ice ever conducted. IceBridge uses a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated science instruments ever assembled to characterize yearly changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets in the Arctic and Antarctic. The research team is experiencing first-hand the excitement of...
Organization: 
International School of Basel
Occupation: 
Teacher
Photo by Andre Wille
Dates:
13 April 2017 to 5 May 2017
Location:
Toolik Field Station, Alaska
What Are They Doing?
An Arctic ground squirrel eating a carrot in a cage. Photo by Andre Wille. The climate of the Arctic is extreme and characterized by long dark cold winters and short bright cool summers. Arctic ground squirrels avoid the long winters by spending 7-9 months below-ground hibernating, reaching body temperatures as low as -3°C as they supercool their tissues. But the onset of spring in the Arctic can be variable depending on the depth of the winter snowpack that needs to melt and the prevalence...
Organization: 
Liberty Pines Academy
Occupation: 
Teacher
Photo by Craig Beals
Dates:
1 June 2017 to 30 June 2017
Location:
Summit Station, Greenland
What Are They Doing?
An ice core from a coring machine in Greenland. Photo by Jim Pottinger. There is broad interest in understanding firn compaction for a number of reasons, most importantly for better interpretation of paleoclimate from air that becomes trapped within the firn (granular snow, especially on the upper part of a glacier, where it has not yet been compressed into ice). Firn densification involves a number of different mechanisms which leads to vapor movement. We will determine the mechanisms of firn...
Organization: 
Booker T. Washington High School
Occupation: 
Teacher
Photo by Misty Nikula-Ohlsen
Dates:
25 July 2017 to 5 August 2017
Location:
R/V Oceanus, Eastern Bering Sea
What Are They Doing?
A jellyfish on the beach near Barrow, Alaska. Photo by Misty Nikula-Ohlsen. There is public perception that jellyfish populations are increasing on a global scale. While this may be true for some areas, in the eastern Bering Sea, jellyfish populations have fluctuated dramatically during the past three decades. This project will estimate the age structure and age-specific abundances of the predominant jellyfish in the Bering Sea, Chrysaora melanaster, in order to understand how their...
Organization: 
Clint ISD Early College Academy
Occupation: 
Teacher
Photo by Cristina Solis
Dates:
25 July 2017 to 10 August 2017
Location:
Utqiaġvik, Alaska
What Are They Doing?
Grassy tundra in Barrow, Alaska. Photo by Cristina Solis. Using legacy and modern data for the Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska area, together with field experiences and lab-based manipulations, the ROAM2 program will orchestrate authentic, collaborative research experiences, where undergraduate students from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) will develop research questions, collect, analyze, and synthesize data, and communicate results in scientifically valid venues on topics in...
Organization: 
Escalante High School
Occupation: 
Teacher
Photo by Dan Frost
Dates:
30 July 2017 to 27 August 2017
Location:
G. William Holmes Research Station at Lake Peters, Alaska
What Are They Doing?
Lake Linné, Svalbard is the site of a previous year's research. Photo by Dan Frost. This project seeks to better understand the natural variability of hydrology and sediment transport in Arctic glacial lake systems, and to investigate how this variability might be impacted by climate change in the future. Studies such as this one, which captures natural variability across the Arctic at different temporal scales, are necessary to enhance our comprehension of how climate change has impacted...
Organization: 
Springs School
Occupation: 
Teacher
Photo by Lisa Seff
Dates:
20 August 2017 to 21 September 2017
Location:
R/V Sikuliaq, Beaufort Sea
What Are They Doing?
Lisa stands on sea ice near Barrow, Alaska. Photo by Lisa Seff. The Beaufort Sea shelf break experiences frequent upwelling of deep, nutrient rich basin water onto the shelf. Such upwelling is not only a short-term source of heat, salt, and nutrients, and a mechanism promoting elevated primary production, but it also transports populations between ocean regions, potentially modifying ecosystem structure and availability of zooplankton and fish prey to upper trophic level consumers. The...
Organization: 
Big Sky High School
Occupation: 
Teacher
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Dates:
4 September 2017 to 5 October 2017
Location:
CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, Beaufort Sea
What Are They Doing?
An underwater view of a CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth instrument). Photo by Bill Schmoker. Global warming and other climate-related processes are rapidly changing the Arctic Ocean. The carbon cycle is of particular concern in the Arctic because it is unknown how carbon sources and sinks will change and whether these changes will lead to increased greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere. Not much is known about the CO2 cycle in the central Arctic Ocean basins because nearly...
Organization: 
Nicolet Union High School
Occupation: 
Teacher
Photo by Lollie Garay
Dates:
21 October 2017 to 25 November 2017
Location:
McMurdo Station, Antarctica
What Are They Doing?
Sea ice in the the Ross Sea. Photo by Lollie Garay. In situ measurements and airborne surveys of snow depth and sea ice thickness are key for improving estimates of sea ice production and water mass transformation in the Ross Sea. The principle objective of this scientific expedition based on McMurdo Station is part of the PIPERS: Polynyas and Ice Production in the Ross Sea, project to fully capture the space/time evolution of the air-sea-ice interactions initiated during autumn and tracked...
Organization: 
Richardson High School
Occupation: 
Teacher
Photo by Elin McIlhattan
Dates:
28 October 2017 to 26 November 2017
Location:
McMurdo Station
What Are They Doing?
Carol Costanza helps recover Laurie II AWS. Photo by Elin McIlhattan The 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...
Organization: 
High Tech High Chula Vista
Occupation: 
Teacher
Photo by Jim Haugen
Dates:
26 November 2017 to 3 January 2018
Location:
South Pole, Antarctica
What Are They Doing?
A DOM (Digital Optical Module) being lowered into the ice. Photo by Jim Haugen. Why go to the bottom of the world to explore the universe? Because it is a nearly ideal place to study one of the most elusive particles known, the almost massless subatomic messenger called the neutrino. The IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole searches for neutrinos from the most powerful astrophysical sources: events like exploding stars and extreme environments around black holes and neutron stars....