What Are They Doing?

This research project on the Greenland ice cap examined the air trapped in firn (old snow that has recrystallized into a more dense substance through the weight of the overlying snowpack) for clues to past climates. The unique characteristics of firn allow the sampling of large quantities of pre-industrial air to explore anthropogenic effects on the atmosphere. While in the field, the team conducted a variety of snow measurements; post-field analysis of the data enabled a better understanding of past climates and the impact of human activity on the Earth's atmosphere.

Where Are They?

The team traveled to Summit Station, located at the peak of the Greenland ice cap atop 3200 m of ice. Summit is a scientific research station sponsored by the National Science Foundation that supports a diversity of scientific research, including year-round measurements of air-snow interactions that provide crucial knowledge for interpreting data from deep ice cores drilled both at Summit and elsewhere. Learn more about Summit at the Summit Station website

Latest Journals

After being at Summit on top of the ice sheet in Greenland where snow accumulates at a rate of 60-65 cm per year, I still wanted to see the edge of the ice sheet. The Russell Glacier is about 17 km from Kangerlussuaq. Some people hike the stretch, some ride bikes, but a few of us signed up with a…
We have a few days in Kangerlussuaq to explore and decided to hike all day around the Lake Ferguson area. Most of the team that worked with the ice cores went trekking for the day. The layers of schist with the garnets were a goal of the hike. But along the way was incredible evidence of…
I have been taking my GPS where ever I go and Summit is no exception. I really do like to see where I am, especially when flying on airplanes. Only once did I have a flight within the US where I could access a GPS unit in the seat in front of me and that was awesome. So I just carry my own GPS…
It has been a quick three weeks and now it is time to get ready to leave here.  The Hercules LC130 will be here tomorrow to pick up the science cargo, personal gear and those who are leaving camp.  Others will be coming to take our place.  packing up the drill Today was a packing up and moving…
Summit, Greenland
Project Funded Title
Snow Structure and Past Climates at Summit, Greenland
Jo Dodds - Teacher
O’Leary Junior High School

Jo Dodds has taught earth science at O'Leary Junior High School, Twin Falls, Idaho, for the past 22 years. Ms. Dodds loves teaching about our dynamic Earth, especially volcanism, seismology, plate tectonics, the environment, and life in extreme environments. Some of her other interests includes birding, cross-country skiing, and traveling, especially to areas of active volcanoes and glaciers.

Mary Albert - Researcher
Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory

Mary Albert is a senior research engineer at the U.S. Army ERDC Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab in Hanover, New Hampshire and a Professor at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. Dr. Albert's research interests include snow physics, heat transfer, and snow-air interactions on the Greenland Ice Shelf. Dr. Albert hopes that this PolarTREC experience will motivate students for careers in science, math, and engineering.

Greenland Snow Studies Resources


The journal assignment involves students in current science research. Through the teacher’s journals, they will learn about how the research teams work together, design their research, tools that are needed and how they live and work in an extreme environment.


Students will be able to: 1. Understand how scientific research is conducted in an extreme environment

More than a week
Middle School and Up
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Working in groups, students will use common materials to create layers of snow and ice representing thousands of years of stratification. Groups will exchange their ice layers and extract core samples to analyze them.


  1. Notice the phenomenon of stratification.
  2. Notice that layers can tell a story of change over time.
  3. Notice that ice
About 1 period
Middle School and Up
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Article covering Jo Dodd's expedition to Summit, Greenland.

All Aged
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Live Event with Jo Dodds and the Photochemistry group at Summit (led by Jack Dibb)

Live from IPY! event with teacher Jo Dodds and the research team in Summit, Greenland. The focus of the event was about the various snow studies being conducted at Summit. Note about the archive: The WIMBA archive has some audio. We had technical difficulties mid-way through and the audio got disconnected.