Now Archived! PolarConnect event with Jennifer Bault and researchers Hongjie Xie and Yongli Gao studying Seasonal Ice Production in the Ross Sea in Antarctica. You can access this and other events on the PolarConnect Archives site.

What Are They Doing?

Photo by Lollie Garay
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 into winter/spring in the Ross Sea. This project will collaborate with a New Zealand team to measure snow and ice thickness of the fast ice in McMurdo Sound, for validation of sea ice thickness imaged from airborne IcePod’s Shallow Ice Sounding Radar, and also mapping pack ice thickness and types from IcePod’s lidar, visible and thermal cameras. These data will be compared with ice thickness measurements from NASA’s IceBridge mission in the Ross Sea to extend the sea ice thickness measurements in this region to multi-years. PolarTREC teacher Jennifer Bault will be a full participant in sampling and conducting geophysical field measurements of the snow and ice, with a possibility to get onto IcePod flights to watch the scientific data collections from different types of sensors onboard IcePod.

More information about the PIPERS project and a cruise blog can be found here.


Where Are They?

Photo by Michael League
A view of McMurdo Station from Observation Hill. Photo by Michael League.
The PolarTREC teacher will be stationed in McMurdo Station and will travel to nearby fast ice, ice shelf, mountain and glaciers to gain first hand experiences of the Antarctic cryosphere.

Expedition Map

McMurdo Station, Antarctica
Project Funded Title
Collaborative Research: Seasonal Sea Ice Production in the Ross Sea, Antarctica
Jennifer Bault - Teacher
Nicolet Union High School

Jennifer developed her love of nature and science at a young age, a result of spending time on her parent’s farm and from many family camping trips around the US. She became a third generation teacher in 1997 and has never looked back. Teaching is a natural fit for her due to her own love of learning. She teaches AP Environmental Science and AP Biology at Nicolet Union High School just north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She holds a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and a principal’s and C & I director’s license. She is looking to complete a PhD in Environmental Science with a concentration in Science Education Research. Most recently, Mrs. Bault traveled to Nzega, Tanzania in 2014 with CETUSA and completed American Wilderness Leadership Training in Wyoming in 2015. Every experience makes its way into her classroom and enhances her teaching and interactions with her students. She also loves to engage her students in learning experiences outside of the classroom through a variety of field trips, including an outdoor education overnight camping trip. Jennifer is an avid hiker and enjoys camping, reading, and traveling with her husband and two teenage daughters when not in the classroom.

Stephen Ackley - Researcher
University of Texas San Antonio

Stephen Ackley is a research associate professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and has worked and conducted sea-ice research in Antarctica for more than 30 years. He previously worked with the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) and then joined the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Texas San Antonio in 2006. Ackley Point in Antarctica was named to honor Ackley for his outstanding sea-ice work by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Ackley Point is an ice covered point located near McMurdo Sound.

Hongjie Xie - Researcher
University of Texas at San Antonio

Hongjie Xie is a professor at the Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at San Antonio. His specialty is remote sensing for hydrology and cryosphere studies. In-situ measurements and field experiences are crucial in helping scientists to understand and interpret what we see from the satellite images and to develop and improve algorithms for retrieving geophysical properties of objects imaged from satellite sensors. Since 2006, he and his research team have been traveled (over 10 times) to the three Polar Regions (Arctic, Antarctic, and Tibetan Plateau) for data collections and experiments. His main research focus has been on mapping sea ice, snow cover, glacier lakes and their changes under the warming climate. Since 2010, he has been a co-lead (funded by NASA and U.S. Department of Education) for summer workshops, specifically designed for K-12 educators to gaining knowledge on earth and environmental science/engineering, including the polar science and climate changes.

Yongli Gao - Researcher
University of Texas San Antonio

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Seasonal Sea Ice Production in the Ross Sea Resources


Ice is a medium that nearly everyone is familiar with. We put it in drinks, skate on it for hockey and scrape it off our windshields in winter. Ice can be turned into sculptures and can even make for some fantastic winter scenery. Ice can also turn into a kaleidoscope of color and patterns under the right circumstances. Science and art collide in the wonder that is ice.

About 1 period
Middle School and Up
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This lesson is intended to help students make connections to polar science while discovering how and why sea ice drives deep ocean currents. Students will also learn key terminology related to sea ice and using actual salinity content charts, will graph a typical sea ice core’s salinity as it relates to depth.

About 1 period
High school and Up
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Concordia University WI E-Newsletter with article about teacher Jennifer Bault in Antarctica.

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Newspaper article from the Grant County Herald Independent about Jennifer Bault's expedition to Antarctica.


The Experience of a Lifetime

A little over 1 year ago, I received a phone call that changed my life. I had been selected to become a PolarTREC Teacher and would be heading to Antarctica in the fall of 2017. Words cannot adequately describe the joy and excitement I had in that moment.

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