Data Collection, Full Steam Ahead

    The past two days have been productive days with our data collection. We made several CTDA research tool that is submerged in the water to measure conductivity (salinity), temperature, and depth. casts and water collection. Sometime in the next few days we will discuss more about how the CTDA research tool that is submerged in the water to measure conductivity (salinity), temperature, and depth. works and why it is important for our research questions.

    Driving the boat
    Driving the boat towards the fjord for a productive day of data collection.

    CTD casting
    Xander and Mark getting the CTD ready to lower into the ocean.

    We need to collect water samples so that we can calibrate the turbidity sensor on the CTDA research tool that is submerged in the water to measure conductivity (salinity), temperature, and depth. instrument (turbidity is a measure of how cloudy the water is, because of the sediment carried from the glacier into the water). Basically, the CTDA research tool that is submerged in the water to measure conductivity (salinity), temperature, and depth. uses an optical process called “optical backscattering” to measure the turbidity. We need to make sure that the optical process matches the amount of sediment in the water. So, we need to collect water samples and filter out all the water to measure the sediment left behind. (More on this in a future post.)

    water filtering
    Julie instructing us in the proper method for filtering water for turbidity calibration.

    water filtering
    Xander monitoring the device which filters out sediment from the water using a small vacuum pump.

    Since our velocity meter doesn’t seem to be a useful tool for this field study, Julie decided to use an old technology - a drogue to measure the speed and direction of the water coming off the glacier. It sort of looks like a little sail; you attach a buoy to the top and a weight to the bottom. You drop it in the water, mark the GPSA Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system used to track the location or position of objects on the Earth’s surface. location and the time. Then you wait several minutes and pick the drogue up. From the starting and ending position, and the time it took to get there, you can get a decent measurement of the water velocity at that location. I love how low-tech this is, at the same time we are using seriously high tech devices!

    Julie and her drogue
    Julie showing off the drogue she made back in 2011.

    launching the drogue
    Xander dropping the drogue. About 15 minutes later he picked it up using a boat hook.

    More Drone Flights

    I also had a chance to do several drone flights. Flying the drone over the glacier is an amazing experience - these are places that would be much too dangerous or even impossible to get to. As the drone pilot, I was able to guide the drone incredibly close to the glacier face, and go over the top and explore the surface. I even got down close to a wide crevasse (one of the cracks that form as glaciers move across the landscape)!

    drone flying
    Here I am flying the drone using my ipad to monitor the flight. In the upper left of the photo you can just make out the drone.

    catching the drone
    Xander makes another expert catch of the drone. Flying from a moving boat is a bit of a challenge!

    Here is a fun video I put together from a few drone flights. I had fun adding music to it as well!

    The drone flying will also be very useful as we investigate what is happening to the upwelling plumes - where water comes gushing out from under the glacier. We are able to see details of how the water flows out from the glacier. For example, as you watch the videos, you’ll notice how incredibly brown the water is - this is from the sediment being carried by the glacier. Differences in the shades of brown, along with observing where the icebergs are, can give us information about how forceful the water is coming off the glacier.

    Here is a video I took looking down along the edge of the Kronebreen GlacierA mass of ice that persists for many years and notably deforms and flows under the influence of gravity.. I’m hoping to duplicate this flight a few times over the next few weeks to help visualize what short-term changes are occurring to the glacier. I am also hoping to do something similar at an adjacent glacier (the Kongsvegen GlacierA mass of ice that persists for many years and notably deforms and flows under the influence of gravity.).

    Some Setbacks Remain…

    Kelly has been working so hard to get the bathymetry equipment up and running. There have been a series of roadblocks and challenges. I am incredibly impressed at her perseverance! Today she seemed to have a breakthrough, and we’re crossing our fingers that it will be up and running tomorrow.

    setting up the bathymetry equipment
    Kelly setting up the bathymetry equipment for today’s test.

    bathymetry test
    Kelly monitoring the bathymetry equipment as she conducts today’s test.

    All of the challenges Kelly is facing are made more difficult because of how remote we are. In addition, we are also in a radio silent area, which means that we can’t use radio signals for the different parts of the device. This is a radio silent area because NASA and a group from Germany are doing high level experiments using radio telescopes. Any radio waves will interfere with these experiments. Therefore, any use of radio waves is forbidden in Ny Ålesund. This means no WiFi or bluetooth! All our devices must be in airplane mode.

    We often don’t think about how all of our devices communicate with each other. Our phones and computers communicate with WiFi and bluetooth signals - these are all radio wave signals that we take for granted. I am communicating to you through ethernet - a direct wired connection to the internet. In fact, I had to get special permission to fly the drone - and I can only do so during specific times when the radio wave experiments are not being conducted.

    So what is a glacier anyway, and what do they leave behind?

    This whole research project is about glaciers, so I figured I'd take the time to go over some basics about what glaciers are, and what you can tell about a glacier from the stuff it leaves behind.

    So what is a glacier, anyway? A glacier is a large mass of ice that stays frozen the whole year.
    The ice in a glacier is constantly flowing. It flows for a very simple reason – gravity! Gravity will pull the ice that is at a higher elevation down to lower elevations. Of course, it flows very slowly, way too slowly to see, but some glaciers can move many meters a day. Kronebreen GlacierA mass of ice that persists for many years and notably deforms and flows under the influence of gravity., one of the ones we are studying, flows at about 1-2 meters (3-6 feet) a day.

    One of the things that geologists can study is called the Mass BalanceThe difference between the mass gained by new ice growth and the amount lost by melting. of the glacier. The mass balance compares how much new snow and ice is added to the glacier to the amount it is losing mass through melting (or icebergs). If the mass balance is zero, that means that the glacier loses the same amount of mass as it gains. In that case, the glacier will not be receding. However, most of the glaciers in this area are receding, which means that they are melting much faster than new snow and ice is added. This is due to global warming.

    What's important to remember is that all of the debris that is in and on the glacier moves with the glacier, until the ice that it is on melts away.

    At the edge of a glacier, the ice either falls off into the sea (in a tidewater glacier) or, if it is on land, the glacier will end in meltwater. Either way, whatever the glacier was carrying is deposited out.

    sediment-laden water in front of the glacier
    Notice how brown the water is in front of the glacier. This is because of all the sediment flowing out.

    sediment-laden iceberg
    Notice how much sediment this iceberg is carrying!

    Glaciers are Dynamic!

    One of the things that is so obvious when you spend time in front of a glacier, as we have all week, is how dynamic they are. Today we spent many hours in front of the glacier and the whole day you could hear booming and cracking as ice was shifting and moving. Every once in a while we would see icebergs calving off the glacier (calving is the term used when new icebergs fall off a glacier). This experience makes it super obvious how much the glacier is moving and changing.

    Here is a video I compiled of some of the calving events we witnessed today. It’s hard to capture these events as you might imagine; you have to be ready with the camera! Just to get some perspective, all of these events happened in less than an hour.

    relaxing on the way home
    Julie takes a well-deserved rest on the way home after a productive day of data collection.

    Author
    Date
    Location
    Ny Ålesund, Svalbard
    Weather Summary
    Mostly cloudy
    Temperature
    11°C (51°F)

    Comments

    paul kirshen

    This is really fascinating research. I see the excessive calving and think, all the melt associated with that calving is driving up the sea level rise in Boston and elsewhere !

    Jeffrey Dong

    Great work so far! I thought the thinking with the drogue was especially neat, and hats off to whoever invented it. Do you think you'll make any new shocking discoveries this trip? In other words, do you think it'll be pretty similar to the trip you took last time (If I'm not mistaken, in 2011), or do you think it'll be dissimilar?

    Also, what do you think people can do to help prevent the glaciers from melting? I know the problem is due to climate change, and we should all know how to support that cause, but how many years long, or, how extreme, do you think our efforts should be?

    I look forward to reading the posts to come!

    Jeffrey

    Mark Goldner

    Hi Jeffrey! Great to hear from you. Yes, it's interesting how old technology can be reliable, even with all the high-tech gear at our disposal. We are expecting to see increased melting - we already have seen a pretty shocking amount of ice retreat. But the part that we are interested in learning more about are the details about how meltwater moves through and under the glacier. We're all waiting in anticipation for the release of a large meltwater lake that has formed up on the glacier. There's another team here studying that, and they want to monitor how the water moves through the glacier using small GPS monitors. We've been watching one particular spot in front of the glacier where there's a cave-like feature that is getting increasingly large. We are anticipating that when the lake finally drains, the meltwater will surge through that cave. That would be exciting to witness!

    Charlotte Pappas

    Mr. Goldner,

    Foremostly, it is interesting reading about how your data of the water surrounding the glacier you are studying is coming along. Moreover, I find it very resourceful how you used a drogue instead of a velocity meter, when the velocity meter did not appear to be useful. The drogue seems like an practical and comprehendible tool to use, as it is lower technology then many of the other tools your team is using, but it is still able to take accurate measurements of the speed and direction the water coming off a glacier is flowing in. I am now further wondering about how many years the drogue has been around for, and approximately how often it is used today compared to approximately how often it was used 50 years ago, around the 1970s, when there was less higher technology devices?

    Furthermore, it was also intriguing reading about how gravity pulls the glacier ice that is at a higher elevation down a lower elevation, and how the mass balance can compare the level of snow and ice that gets added to a glacier with the level of snow and ice that the glacier loses by melting. I can predict that due to climate change, most glaciers in the world now have a higher level of snow and ice that they lose due to melting then snow and ice that gets added to them. I am also now further wondering that will there still be glaciers left in our plant in 100 years, and if there are, what is the estimated mass balance these glaciers are expected to have?

    That is all my thoughts for now.
    Charlotte

    Mark Goldner

    Hi Charlotte, yes it's cool that sometimes an old technology can be useful. I don't know how long these drogues have been used, but I think for well over 100 years!

    There are, of course, many limitations to using this simple device. What assumptions do you think we need to make in order to make a measurement using the drogue? Do you think these are all good assumptions? Can you (or others) think of a way to improve on this idea?

    Charlotte Pappas

    Hello Mr. Goldner,

    Foremostly, to answer your first question, I think that an assumption we need to make in order to make a measurement using the drogue is the fact that at the time that you do the drogue measurements, it might be very windy outside, which will likely cause the ocean water to move more quicker then it usually does. Therefore, since the drogue only measures what the water velocity of a location is during the time it is in the water, if it is windy when you use it to take measurements, then you can assume that the drogue measurements are likely not the most accurate, as the results produced are likely much higher with the wind, and that you should probably wait for a less windy day to take measurements again.

    Furthermore, I think that this assumption that since it is so windy, the drogue measurements are likely not the most accurate, is a good assumption to make in this situation, but only if the climate in the area were you are testing the drogue is not usually so windy. I think this because I know that if it is unusually windy in an area where the drogue is getting tested, then the results would not be reflecting on the typical rate of the water movement, which means that they are likely producing incorrect results, hence, this assumption would be good to use, but on the other hand, if it is commonly windy in an area where to drogue is getting tested, then the results would most likely be reflecting on the typical rate of the water movement, which means this assumption would not be good to use, as if you wait for a day when the water is calmer, it could be producing incorrect results.

    Finally, one way that I think that the way the drogue could be improved is if it had a way to stay underwater for a week instead of a few minutes, and it could record the average water velocity of each day. This way, when you pick up the drogue after a week, you can see the average water velocity of each day that week, and if there was days when the weather was extra windy or still, you can not use the data from those days, and instead use the data when the water velocity was more accurate in reflecting the weather's impact on the water velocity.

    That is all my thoughts for now.
    Charlotte

    Emery La

    Wow, I really find this whole trip to be fascinating and super cool, I hope that you can make some amazing discoveries and get some great footage of those big chunks of glacier sliding off into the water, because it was really cool to watch.

    I also have a question about this climate change problem. Do you personally think that we can save this land made out of ice, or are we too late, and when or if we stop climate change this whole big piece of land will finally be gone. This problem is getting a little bit stressful, because there are so many problems that humans have created, like air and water pollution and hunting animals to extinction, and this. I don't know how they can choose which one to solve first while the others are just getting worse.
    I can't wait to see more.

    Emery

    Mark Goldner

    Hi Emery, thanks for your very thoughtful comment. I agree that these problems can be very overwhelming, and sometimes it's hard to know where to start. My advice is to pick the thing that you are most passionate about and work on that. What's really cool when you get involved in the environmental community is to realize how many people are working on these problems and how everyone does their little piece. Eventually when everyone does their little piece the whole problem begins to be solved. There's a nice parable read by the Kenyan activist Wangari Maathai that I really love called "I will be the hummingbird" Check out this short video clip of her telling the story (from a movie called "Dirt"). I find it very inspiring and I think it speaks directly to how overwhelmed you might be feeling and how important it is to take action nonetheless.

    To your other question, about whether it's too late to save glaciers, I think the answer is that we're not really sure. We know that glaciers are rapidly shrinking, but there is still a lot of ice covering parts of the Earth right now. If we can reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases, I am hopeful that we will be able to stabilize a large portion of the ice that currently exists. But that depends, of course, on how urgently we act as humans.

    I think it's super important to help people understand what's going on and raise awareness about these issues. If we want to solve these environmental problems then we need to work towards making our society less dependent on using resources the way we do; helping people understand that is a big part of the solution, I think!

    Sofia Andersen

    I think this is a really interesting blog! I watched the video you put together with the drone footage, and I think it looked really cool. I especially liked the part where you can see the glacier from a birds eye view, i've never seen that before.

    While I was looking at the pictures, I noticed the color of the water differed, from photo to photo, and when I learned that was caused by the sediment flowing out of the glaciers, I wondered how all the sediment gets in the glaciers. Another question I have, is can animals use pieces of calve in the water as their habitat? Or will only glaciers work?

    Sofia

    Mark Goldner

    Hi Sofia, I'm glad you're enjoying the blog! It's been amazing to be up here, and writing the blog gives me time to reflect on what we're doing. I agree that seeing the glacier from the air is amazing - and that's the point of doing this as part of the scientific research. We're usually studying glaciers from sea level, and we can't get closer than 100 meters - because of the risk of being hit by falling ice or waves - see this video for a dramatic example! So getting right up to the edge with the drone gives us a lot of information.

    That connects to your first question about the color of the water, which comes from the sediment. So as glaciers move across the landscape, they are constantly tearing apart the rock underneath them. This is due to a combination of factors, including friction (the scraping of the ice across the rock can loosen and break rock) and also freeze-thaw weathering. This is when water at the bottom of the glacier seeps into cracks in the rock; then the water freezes, expands, and breaks up the rock. Then that broken up rock gets carried along with the ice, or, if there is flowing water under the glacier, it gets carried along with that moving water.

    As to your other question, we do see animals on the icebergs. For example, birds will often be seen resting on the ice. Seals will sometimes haul themselves out to help regulate their body temperature. I've never seen polar bears on an iceberg, but apparently they will sometimes get up onto them as well. But this is temporary - they don't nest or live permanently on icebergs - because the ice is constantly breaking up, shifting, flipping and melting. So it wouldn't be a very stable place to spend much time on. As for glaciers, I don't think there are many animals that would consider a glacier their home, because there's not much on a large body of ice that would sustain an animal for long. But animals do use stable glacier ice to travel over. Bears and other animals will sometimes cross glaciers as a way to mask their scent, for example.

    Max Gallentine

    Wow, this post is super interesting! I love how with all the advanced technology, we still have use for some of the older items of technology like the drogue.
    I have a couple of questions regarding the mass balance of a grlaceir. In your experiences, What was the most un-proportional mass balance? and how much has that increased or decreased the speed?

    Max G.

    Mark Goldner

    Hi Max, great to hear from you, and thanks for coming to the Zoom call the other night! You have a really interesting question. We're not measuring the mass balance of the glaciers specifically, so I don't know the answer to your question. (But I will talk to Julie and others to see what I can find out about the numbers.) What I can say is that the glaciers here have a very negative mass balance, which is why they are retreating so quickly. And the retreat is accelerating. This image, put together by Xander, really shows how the retreat has increased over time.

    Abigail Jackson

    I think it is fascinating how the glacier is cracked on the outside but so dense. I watched the videos linked to this blog and the drone shots are spectacular and really show how big and fragile the glaciers are. I hope the roads open up soon.

    I have a question about climate change : Is there any way to undo all the carbon emissions that humans have made?

    Mark Goldner

    Hi Abigail, this is an important question. To answer it, we first need to lower - and stop - our carbon emissions. Then to your question, can we take carbon dioxide out of the air? The best way to do that is through planting trees and other plants (because through photosynthesis plants pull carbon dioxide from the air), and to use sustainable agriculture techniques that pull carbon dioxide from the soil. There's a really nice movie called Kiss the Ground which I recommend. In the movie they highlight ways that we can grow our food that would help reduce carbon in the atmosphere.

    sean m

    I think this is once again very interesting! glaciers calving a lot is very interesting. (since i didn't know.)

    Also, what do you think can stop the glaciers from melting or stopping climate change as a whole?

    Mark Goldner

    Hi Sean, this is an important question. If you read my response to the previous comment, you'll see that the most important thing is to lower - and stop - our emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This means that our society needs to move towards renewable electricity, heating, cooling and transportation. And we need to begin growing and eating food that is sustainable.

    Daphne Jones

    Hi Mr Goldner!
    Theres lots of interesting things in this blog like the use of the older technology as well as the newer, and how the radio waves interact with each other is really cool to hear about! Also it was great to learn more about some of the tests that you do on the water, for example turbidity. Besides from the drone and your phone that you talked about, would any of the equipment that you use to measure different things in the water send the same radio signals that interfere with the NASA experiments? If so, how do you still get that data? Would there be another old fashioned technology that you would use? How does the drogue monitor the speed and direction of the water? How do you use it? Thanks!
    -Daphne

    Mark Goldner

    Hi Daphne, thanks for your thoughtful comment and questions! I agree with you about how cool all of the equipment is. I love to totally geek out about using the equipment. We were hoping to use a device to connect to our bathymetry (ocean water depth measuring) equipment that would provide an absolute reference for altitude. (The problem is that the boat is not always at the exact same level because of waves, high and low tides, etc.) We hoped to use a device on land that would connect to the echosounder (the device in the boat that actually sends the sound wave and calculates depth) via radio waves. But because of a number of issues we couldn't get that working. Had we been able to get that working, we would have needed special permission to use that device because those radio waves could have interfered with the radio wave experiments going on at Ny Ålesund. So one of the things we may have to do is to try to factor out the tide changes from the bathymetry data. Since the tide heights are pretty well known around the world, that isn't a huge problem - just a lot of work to add to the processing of the data.

    As for the drogue device, it's a pretty simple device and there are a number of assumptions built in that may be incorrect. The way it works is that we drop the device into the water, and the water current carries it along. We mark the time and GPS location where it was dropped, and then many minutes later we pick it up and mark the time and GPS location. From that, we can measure the speed and direction that the water moved the device. But, we're assuming that the drogue moved in a straight line (it may not have done that) and we are also assuming that the speed is constant (which it may not be). But since we only use it for short distances, it's a pretty good way to compare different speeds of water in different locations. For example, we consistently measured water coming off an upwelling plume at Kronebreen at 4 meters per second, and at a different upwelling plume at Kongsvegen Glacier the speed was 2 meters per second. So while we aren't getting totally precise data, we can certainly say that the water was moving quite a bit faster from Kronebreen than from Kongsvegen. It's too bad we couldn't stay longer - it would have been interesting to see what happens over a longer period of time.

    Ishara B

    Mr. Goldner,
    It sounds like your trip was super interesting. I thought that the idea with the drogue was pretty cool. I also found the video of the icebergs calving off the glaciers fascinating. My question is, what are some things you have noticed that are very different from the last time you visited?
    -Ishara

    Mark Goldner

    Hi Ishara, thanks for your questions. Two things that really struck me were (1) just how much ice is gone from the glaciers, and (2) how much more "stretched out" Kronebreen Glacier appears. Last time the face of the glacier appeared more compact and intact. This time, the glacier face seems to have deeper and larger crevasses (the large cracks that form in the glacier), and the face of the glacier seemed to be less stable.

    Daniel Rosen

    Hi Mr. Goldner, I didn't know that glaciers moved so quickly! You said that the water in front of the glacier is brown because of the sediment flowing out of it. How far do you have to go until the water is a more normal color again?

    Daniel

    Mark Goldner

    Hi Daniel, thanks for the question. The answer is, it really varies. If you look at this picture, for example, that I took over Kongsbreen Glacier, you can see that there are areas where the water is almost clear, even very close to the glacier face. But where there is an inflow of sediment the water is quite brown and turbid (very cloudy). In general, though, if you wanted to find a region where there was almost no sediment in the water, you'd have to go out about 10km or so away from the glaciers.

    Cha Cha Cohen

    Hi Mr Goldner!

    I've really been wondering about how the long-term effects of global warming will effect the movement and size of the glacier. Do you think in the next 100 years if the effects of global warming keep getting worse these glaciers will still be moving as rapidly as they are now or do you think that will slow down and they will start melting away?

    Mark Goldner

    Hi Cha Cha, this is a great question. What we think is going to happen is that tidewater glaciers (those that end in the ocean, like Kronebreen and Kongsvegen Glaciers), will retreat rapidly until they retreat so far back that they end on land (called land-terminating glaciers). Then, the retreat will likely slow down because there is no longer any extra warming coming from the ocean water. But even if they are retreating more slowly, they will continue to get thinner, so they are still losing quite a bit of ice.

    Nico Liteplo

    Hi Mr. Goldner,
    This has been amazing stuff that you and your team have done the last couple of weeks! I thought that the drogue instrument was very interesting especially because like you said, it relies on very simple tech compared to the many other complex instruments that you have been using.
    One question that I have is are you collecting different samples with the CTD instrument in various different locations to compare and contrast, or are you sticking to one specific spot to study on? If you are collecting samples from different locations, can this provide almost a new set of data to study the glacier more accurately and with more depth?
    Thanks a lot for your time and I apologize for the delayed response. I look forward to reading another one of your posts.

    Mark Goldner

    Hi Nico, thanks for your questions! You are asking about a really fundamental concern - where do you take your samples from? In the perfect world you would take lots of samples from lots of locations at lots of times. But of course you are limited in time, money and people... so you have to choose carefully. Dr. Brigham-Grette is most interested in understanding how the water flows through and out of the glacier, so we concentrated our data collection to the "sediment plumes" - where water and sediment is coming off the glacier. We also tried to collect data that would overlap somewhat with data that had been collected in previous years, to be able to compare and contrast. This way you can get a picture of what's happening right now, but then also see how that picture is changing over time.

    Elsa Pullano

    Hi Mr. Goldner,
    It is so cool that you got to use a drone to see the glaciers! I found it interesting that when the glaciers fell they turned into smaller ice pieces in the water, which I saw in the video. Did the warming temperatures melt big parts of the glaciers? If so, when they melted did it effect the water temperature?

    Elsa

    Mark Goldner

    Hi Elsa, thanks for your comment. To answer your questions, you should know that icebergs calving off the glacier (calving is just the term for when icebergs fall off of glaciers) is a normal process, and it's caused by the fact that when the glacier juts out into the ocean, the front of it gets very unstable. Then, all the force of the ice pushing from behind will eventually make it so unstable in places that pieces of ice fall off. So that's just a normal thing that happens. But, because of increased temperature in the air and water, there is an increase in the rate at which icebergs calve off. I definitely noticed a lot more iceberg calving activity this year than when I was there ten years ago.

    Your other question is a really good one too - in fact we do see that the water temperature is lower near melting icebergs than in other places, which makes sense since it's just about at 0°C where the surrounding water is a bit warmer. You can also see a lot of sediment coming off of icebergs when the icebergs came from a particularly dirty part of the glacier. Remind me when I see you later this week and I'll look through my photos or videos to see if I can find one with an iceberg dropping a lot of sediment into the water.

    Ryan lackey

    Hi Mr.Goldner,
    I thought this blog was really interesting. I thought it was really awesome how you guys where able to use something that was homemade, this just shows how we don’t always need technology to figure things out. I also thinks it’s really cool that you are able to fly a drone over the glacier and see the crevasses up so close. Does the drone with last snowy or rainy conditions or do you have to wait for a good day to fly it?

    Ryan

    Mark Goldner

    Hi Ryan, Yes you are highlighting how we made due with both high tech (the drone) and low tech (the drogue)!
    Unfortunately the drone I have (and most similar drones) can't fly in wet conditions - they are totally not waterproof. Also if it is too windy they can't keep their position steady and can get blown off course.

    Addy Jalan

    Hi Mr. Goldner!
    I've been enjoying your blog this summer! I think it's cool how you guys are doing this studying of the glaciers, since I think glaciers are a really cool and interesting topic. I was actually wondering a couple of things as I read the blog. First of all, what do you think the effects of global warming are going to do to glaciers in the long run? Do you think they'll all just melt away? And to try to make this not happen, how can we help and what can we do?

    Mark Goldner

    Hi Addy, in the long run if we don't change our habits then all the glaciers will melt. This will take hundreds of years, but what would happen if all the ice melted is that sea levels would rise such that coastal areas - including Boston - would become uninhabitable. Also there would be dramatic changes to the ecosystems of coastal areas with this new shoreline.

    We must as a society figure out how to stop emitting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. We know how to do that - by eliminating gasoline powered cars, eating less meat, and other things. But it's hard to change a society unless the population speaks up loudly and forcefully. So what can you do? Get involved and raise your voice so that our leaders make the right decisions. I am actually optimistic because your generation cares so much about this issue!

    Micheal Siedlecki

    Dear Mr. Goldner

    I thought it was unbelievable how you had the opportunity to go to the Arctic, adding onto that comment, I was wondering if you got to see any sea animals, and if so please tell me which ones

    From Micheal

    Mark Goldner

    Hi Micheal, as for sea animals, I did see bearded seals and many different types of birds, such as puffins, fumars, kittiwakes, Arctic Terns, Ivory Gulls, and Arctic Skuas.