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.
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.