SIMBA Antarctic Sea Ice

What Are They Doing?

The research team traveled by icebreaker to the Bellingshausen-Amundsen Sea in western Antarctica. During their two months at sea they sampled sea-ice properties such as temperature, snow depth, ice thickness, meteorological conditions, ice biogeochemistry, and biology in order to investigate sea-ice processes. The researchers deployed an array of 12-14 drifting buoys that continued to measure these processes for an additional year. The research cruise was part of a larger coordinated program designed to estimate the exchange of salt, fresh water, and heat between the atmosphere and ocean, characterize the thickness and extent of sea ice, and determine if the sea ice is shrinking in this region. A cruise into the East Antarctic pack ice which took place at the same time collected similar samples, and remote sensing studies contributed additional observations before, during, and after the cruises.

Where Are They?

The team traveled aboard the research icebreaker Nathanial B. Palmer into the Bellinghausen and Amundsen Seas in western Antarctica. The boat departed from, and returned to, Punta Arenas, Chile. Click here to see a picture and read more about the icebreaker.

Expedition Map


Location: Punta Arenas, Chile      Two months ago as I was moving my things into my room on the Palmer I remember thinking I was the luckiest person in the world. Today, two months later and my last day on the Palmer, I am the most grateful. Twenty years ago when I started my teaching career I never dreamed it would take me to Antarctica. I never imagined that I’d be peeking over the shoulders of world class scientists doing ground-breaking work in polar science. I never envisioned seeing so many talented and hard-working people come together in spite of great adversity to achieve so many...
Location: From the Drake Passage into the Strait of Magellan. Latitude: 53° 33′ S Longitude: **72° 28′ W **Air temperature: 4.5 °C (40.1 °F) Wind chill: -7.7 °C (18.4 °F) Wind speed: 15 to 20 knots Barometric pressure: 1004.6 mBar Antarctic trivia (answer at the end of this journal entry): Many nations conduct research in Antarctica and have permanent research facilities there. Which of these facilities is the largest?   What do milk, sugar, almonds, chocolate, coffee and excess liquid nitrogen have in common? Mixed together they make great ice cream! Apparently somewhat of a tradition on...
Location: From Peter I Island to the Drake Passage.      Latitude: 60° 20′ S Longitude: 82° 30′ W Air temperature: 1.7 °C (35.1 °F) Wind chill: -13.7 °C (7.3 °F) Wind speed: 25 to 30 knots Water temperature: 3.7 °C (38.7 °F) Barometric pressure: 985.6 mBar ** Antarctic trivia** (answer at the end of this journal entry): 90% of the world’s ice is found in Antarctica. What portion of Earth’s fresh water does this represent? **   *In a polynya (an area of open water surrounded by ice) near Peter I Island. * Our planned route home from Ice Station Belgica included a stop at Peter I Island,...
Location: In transit from Ice Station Belgica to Peter I Island.      Latitude: 69° 08′ S Longitude: **91° 18′ W **Air temperature: -10.8 °C (12.6 °F) Wind chill: - 29.7 °C (-21.5 °F) Wind speed: 18 to 22 knots Barometric pressure: 981.5 mBar **Antarctic trivia **(answer at the end of this journal entry): Leopard seals, named for the spots on their bellies, are a dominant predator in the Antarctic. Do they have any natural enemies?   Wednesday morning we said farewell and adieu to Ice Station Belgica, our home for the past 28 days. Mixed emotions are the rule; we are happy to be headed home...
Location: Ice Station Belgica Latitude: 70° 03′ S Longitude: 93° 59′ W Air temperature: -9.4 °C (15.1 °F) Wind chill: -24.1 °C (-11.4 °F) Wind speed: 13 – 15 knots Barometric pressure: 964.3 mBar Antarctic trivia (answer at the end of this journal entry): Ice fish, a unique group of Antarctic fish, have an interesting physiological adaptation. What is it? Our last two days at Ice Station Belgica were a whirlwind of activity as everyone wrapped up work and prepared for transit. The geophysics group finished final surveys of our three study areas while the Belgian-Canadian group finished...

Expedition Resources

Project Information

Dates: 28 August 2007 to 2 November 2007
Location: Bellingshausen-Amundsen Sea, Antarctica
Project Funded Title: SIMBA: Sea Ice Mass Balance in Antarctic Seas aboard the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer

Meet the Team

Sarah Anderson's picture
Boerne High School
Boerne, TX
United States

Sarah Anderson teaches physics and aquatic science at Boerne High School in Boerne, Texas. She has twenty years of teaching experience including work as a classroom teacher, education specialist, and television instructor. In addition to her work in the classroom, Ms. Anderson conducts training for pre-service teachers and teaches a field-based aquatic science course for high school students during the summer. She has Bachelors and Masters degrees in Education and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Science Education.

Stephen Ackley's picture
University of Texas San Antonio
San Antonio, TX
United States

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.