What Are They Doing?

The terminus of a glacier near Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
The terminus of a glacier near Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
The retreat of glaciers is one of the most profound visual signs of global warming. Identifying the current magnitude of glacier retreat and its significance in the longer-term context of glacier history encourages a deeper understanding of what it means for society. The goal of this project was to provide a longer-term context for current climate warming and to better define the nature of abrupt climate changes over the past 5000 years in the Arctic.

The research team applied complimentary techniques to both the preserved plants and rocks exposed at the foot of retreating glaciers in West Greenland. Radiocarbon-dating techniques were applied to the plants and the isotopic signature of recently exposed rock surfaces were determined, allowing researchers to determine the duration of ice-covered and ice-free conditions throughout the Holocene (the past 11,700 years since the end of the last major ice age). Combined, these two datasets explicitly date when the region was last as warm as present. Comparing climate reconstructions with on-going studies elsewhere will help to further define recent abrupt climate changes.

Where Are They?

A massive glacier in southwestern Greenland
A massive glacier in southwestern Greenland
The team traveled to Albany, New York and then flew to Kangerlussuaq, in western Greenland. Research logistics were managed out of the communities of Kangerlussuaq and Maniitsoq. The team traveled into the field by helicopter, and once there, worked out of base camps that they traveled to on foot. Western Greenland is characterized by an arctic or subarctic climate, with temperatures ranging from between 5 and 18 degrees Celsius during the summer.

Latest Journals

One of the many things that I have learned in this field season is that field researchers live a different daily rhythm than the daily grind we experience. Field researchers are very organized, revisit plans daily but in the end are at the mercy of mother nature. There have been very few times…
We arrived at the KISS building (Kangerlussuaq International Science Support) on August 19th and needed to layover until August 22nd to catch the last south bound flight on the C-130. The LC-130: Our 'taxi' home Kangerlussuaq is found in western Greenland and is located on the northeast…
I am not sure how much sleep any of us got last night. Today, we pulled out of base camp 2 and field season came to an end. We needed to meet at 7 am with bags packed; not a problem for me, I think I was up by 5. As usual, this amazing place always has something new to share. As I came out of…
With only 2 days left to field season, we needed to make the best of every opportunity. We came to breakfast with daypacks ready to go, had a bite of food and some coffee and away we went in search of erratics on moraines. Base Camp 2 - Lil' Nug Camp Hiking to moraines is spectacular,…
Dates
-
Location
Greenland
Project Funded Title
Arctic Sensitivity to Climate Perturbations and a Millenial Perspective on Current Warming Derived from Shrinking Ice Caps
Tina Ciarametaro - Teacher
Teacher
Ipswich Middle School

Tina Ciarametaro is an outdoor enthusiast and a lifelong learner. She grew up in the Adirondacks and spent her summers navigating the St. Lawrence River. From an early age, she was encouraged to 'read' the natural world. Tina graduated from SUNY schools with a BS in biology and a MS in science education. She started her career in 1990 teaching biological sciences but found her niche in 2006 when she was hired by Ipswich Middle School to teach earth science.

Tina teaches earth science from the perspective of looking at the natural world through a forensics' eye; guiding her students to look for clues that nature presents, identify patterns and attempt to determine the source of change. As a teacher, Tina feels that she has a unique opportunity to help impact future generations and the decisions that are made, by sharing her experiences with her students. Tina believes the most effective teachers are those who are passionate and well educated about the subject matter they teach. Tina is confident that her PolarTREC experience will not only expand her knowledge, but motivate her students as well. When Tina isn't in the classroom she can be found hiking and camping with her family, gardening or being a naturalist aboard a whale watch boat out of Gloucester, MA.

Jason Briner - Researcher
Researcher
State University of New York at Buffalo

Jason Briner is an Associate Professor of Geology at the University at Buffalo. Born in Seattle, with geology degrees from the University of Washington, Utah State University and the University of Colorado, Jason has taken geology courses all over the western US. His research focus is on the glacier and climate history of the Arctic, and has ongoing research projects in Alaska, Arctic Canada, Greenland and Norway. Jason is the director of the Paleoclimate Lab at the University at Buffalo, which specializes in using lake sediment records, glacial geology, and geological dating techniques like radiocarbon and cosmogenic nuclide exposure dating. With the help of both graduate and undergraduate students, Jason's interests are to reconstruct glacier responses to past climate events in recent Earth history to help understand the sensitivity of glaciers to climate change. Read more about Dr. Biner's research here.

Shrinking Arctic Icecaps Resources

The report is written by teacher participants upon return from their field expedition portion of the PolarTREC program. It summarizes the benefit of the expedition to the teacher, a description of activities, and a summary of how teachers plan to link this experience in classrooms and communities.

Report
Arctic
All Aged
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Free community viewing of Taking Earth's Temperature -Delving Into Earth's Past followed by Q & A w/contributor Dr. Jason Briner. Organized by PolarTREC teacher, Tina Ciarametaro in her home community after her expedition to Greenland. Learn more here about the documentary Taking Earth's Temperature.

Presentation
Arctic
About 1 period
Middle School and Up

This one hour webinar is a great look at the PolarTREC 2014 Arctic expeditions. Each teacher presents a little about the research projects, implementation in the classroom, and outreach into communities.

Event
Arctic
About 1 period
All Aged
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News release letter for Tina Ciarametaro's expedition to Greenland to study shrinking arctic icecaps. The release explains the upcoming expedition, PolarTREC's goals/objectives and how to follow the expedition.

Article
Arctic
Middle School and Up
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Article written by 8th grader, Emma Jacklin, describing Dr. Briner's visit to Ipswich Middle School and her reactions to his presentation.

Article
Arctic
n/a
Middle School and Up
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