Pertaining to the air or atmosphere.
Photographs taken from above or with a birds-eye perspective.
Tiny solid particles or liquid droplets that remain suspended in the atmosphere for a long time. Aerosols are produced by natural processes or human activities, such as volcanic dust, sea spray, smoke from forest fires, particles emitted during the burning of fossil fuels, etc.
These are effects caused by human beings, such as air pollution from cars.
Factors caused by human beings, such as air pollution produced by cars.
These are effects caused by human beings, such as air pollution produced by cars.
Scientists who study the origin, behavior, and physical, social, and cultural development of humans.
Top-level predators that as adults are not normally preyed upon in the wild, although humans can be an exception.
Scientists who study past human life and culture by the recovery and examination of remaining material evidence, such as graves, buildings, tools, and pottery.
The branch of anthropology that studies prehistoric people and their cultures.
A chain of many islands.
Branch of astronomy devoted to the study of the physical characteristics and composition of objects in the sky, including how much light the stars give off and the size, mass, and temperature of planets and stars.
Relating to the southern hemisphere. The austral summer is from December to February and the austral winter is from June to August.
Adynamic layer of ice closest to the bedrock at the base of a glacier. Unlike glacial ice, formed by snowflakes, basal ice is a layer made of refrozen water. It can be non-existent to several meters thick, and often contains large amounts of rock debris plucked from underlying bedrock and carried with the glacier.
Basalt is a common volcanic rock. It is usually gray to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet.
Bathymetric maps show the underwater topography, including depth and contour of the bottom surface of lakes, rivers or oceans.
Bathymetry is the study of the depth of water in the ocean.
The Beaufort Sea lies to the north of Alaska and the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
Benthic organisms live on or in the bottom sediments of a sea or lake.
Communities of organisms that live on or in the bottom sediments of a sea or lake.
The bottom of a sea or lake
The study of processes in the natural environmental using interdisciplinary tools from biology, chemistry and geology.
A group of mollusks, typically with two-part symmetrical shells.
A float moored in water or ice to mark a location, warn of danger, or indicate a navigational channel.
(abbreviation) Clothing Distribution Center (or Centre as they spell it in New Zealand)
Cetaceans are an order of aquatic mammals that include whales, dolphins, and porpoises.
The surface oceanic current encircling Antarctica that flows from west to east.
Located or found within the Earth’s polar regions.
The average weather over a particular region of the Earth. Climate originates in recurring weather phenomenon that result from specific types of atmospheric circulation.
A statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or the mean variability of the climate that persists for an extended period (typically 10 years or more). Climate change may result from such factors as changes in solar activity, long-period changes in the Earth's orbital elements, natural internal processes of the climate system, or anthropogenic forcing (for example, increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases).
The science that deals with the phenomena of climates or climatic conditions.
Matter in which atoms and molecules interact closely with each other, as liquids and solids.
A divide separating river systems that flow to opposite sides of a continent.
Extension of each continent covered by shallow seas.
Copepods are a type of small aquatic zooplankton found in either fresh or salt water. To see pictures of Calanus hyperboreus, Calanus glacialis, Calanus finmarchicus, and other zooplankton click here.
The creation of a bowl-shaped depression in the surface, made by the impact or collision of a body, such as meteoroid.
The frozen part of the Earth's surface. The cryosphere includes the polar ice caps, continental ice sheets, mountain glaciers, sea ice, snow cover, lake and river ice, and permafrost. For more information about the cryosphere, click here.
A research tool that is submerged in the water to measure conductivity (salinity), temperature, and depth.
A part of the nitrogen cycle, where biologically available nitrogen is converted to an unusable nitrogen form.
Diatoms are one of the most common types of phytoplankton. Most diatoms are unicellular, although they can exist as colonies in the shape of filaments or ribbons. Diatom communities are a popular tool for monitoring environmental conditions, past and present, and are commonly used in studies of water quality.
Strait, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans between Tierra del Fuego and the South Shetland Islands. Located about 100 mi (160 km) north of the Antarctic Peninsula, it is 600 mi (1,000 km) wide.
The more-or-less predictable and orderly changes in the composition or structure of an ecological community. For example, the recolonization of a new, unoccupied habitat created as a result of a landslide, lava flow, a forest fire etc.
The study of the interrelationship between an organism's physical functioning and its environment.
An ecological community together with its environment, functioning as a unit.
(abbreviation) Extreme Cold Weather clothing
A deep U-shaped valley formed by glacial erosion, which is filled with seawater as the glacier retreats.
Searching for food.
With respect to climate, processes and factors outside of the climate system that when changed, generate a change in the climate system. Examples of climate forcing include variability in solar output, different amounts of sunshine received by a region of the Earth due to orbital changes, volcanic eruptions that inject particles and gases into the atmosphere, and changes in the positions of continents.
A group of mollusks that travel on a single, muscular foot and often secrete a one-piece shell for protection. Snails, slugs, limpets and abalones are all gastropods.
The field of geochemistry involves study of the chemical composition of the Earth and other planets, chemical processes and reactions that govern the composition of rocks and soils, and the cycles of matter and energy that transport the Earth's chemical components in time and space, and their interaction with the hydrosphere and the atmosphere.
Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
GIS is a collection of computer hardware, software, and geographic data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information. For more information about GIS, click here.
The science that deals with the dynamics and physical history of the earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the physical, chemical, and biological changes that the earth has undergone or is undergoing.
A subset of the scientific discipline microbiology, geomicrobiology is the study of the interactions between microorganisms and the minerals in rocks.
Scientists who study of the evolution and configuration of landforms.
Study of the characteristics, development, and origin of landforms.
The branch of geology that deals with the physics of the earth and its atmosphere, including oceanography, seismology, volcanology, and geomagnetism.
Study of the Earth.
Science that deals with the dynamics, processes, and physically history of glaciers and their relationship with the earth.
Earth processes related to the existence of glaciers, including for example U-shaped valleys and the deposition of sediments picked up by glacial ice.
Is or was at one time covered with ice or glaciers or affected by glacial action.
A mass of ice that persists for many years and notably deforms and flows under the influence of gravity.
Studies pertaining to the interactions between the ocean and glaciers.
Icebergs: A floating body of ice that has broken away from a glacier.
Pertaining to glaciers.
Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE)
A worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science and education program. GLOBE's vision promotes and supports students, teachers and scientists to collaborate on inquiry-based investigations of the environment and the Earth system working in close partnership with NASA and NSF Earth System Science Projects (ESSPs) in study and research about the dynamics of Earth's environment.
A Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system used to track the location or position of objects on the Earth’s surface.
Gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect (the heating of the atmosphere). Some gases are naturally occurring in the atmosphere while others result from human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels.
Groundfish include species or groups of fish that live most of their life near the sea bottom, in the benthic zone. Halibut and Pacific Cod are examples of groundfish.
A spiral oceanic surface current driven by the wind.
Images that contain a large number of dots per unit of area and are therefore sharp and detailed.
The time period beginning at the end of the last Ice Age about 11,000 years ago and characterized by the development of human civilizations.
Branches of knowledge and research associated with human thought and culture.
A cylindrical section of ice removed from a glacier or an ice sheet using a specialized type of hollow drill. Enter the definition here.
Ice Core Record
A record taken from a core sample from the accumulation of snow and ice over many years that have re-crystallized and have trapped air bubbles from previous time periods. The composition of ice cores, and the presence of certain isotopes, provides a picture of the climate at the time the snowfall accumulated.
An ice divide is analogous to a watershed divide. An ice sheet divide separates opposing flow directions of ice on an ice sheet.
A floating body of ice that has broken away from a glacier.
An icebreaker is a special purpose ship or boat designed to move and navigate through ice-covered waters.
Rocks or rock processes produced under conditions involving intense heat, such as rocks of volcanic origin or rocks crystallized from molten magma.
A term used to describe any ethnic group of people who inhabit a geographic region with which they have the earliest known historical connection.
International Polar Year
The International Polar Year (IPY) is a two year (2007-2009) program of international research and education focused on the Arctic and Antarctic. Click here for more information about IPY.
An animal without a spinal column, or backbone such as a worm or a snail.
Measuring system that detects and locates objects using light from a laser.
Having to do with the physical, geographical and biological features of fresh water bodies (lakes and ponds).
A scientist who studies the life and phenomena of fresh water, especially lakes and ponds.
The Little Auk is the most abundant seabird species in the Atlantic with the largest colonies located between 70-80° N on the Arctic islands of Greenland and Spitsbergen. The Little Auk belongs to the Auk family, a diverse group of seabirds in the Northern hemisphere that include the puffins, auklets and guillemots. To read more about the little auk, see pictures and and listen to the bird’s call click here.
Pertaining to or like the planet Mars.
The difference between the mass gained by new ice growth and the amount lost by melting.
(abbreviation) McMurdo Station
Pertaining to, or affected by metabolism. Metabolism has two components, catabolism and anabolism. Catabolism refers to the series of physical and chemical processes in an organism that break down molecules to provide the chemical energy necessary for the maintenance and growth of cells. Anabolism is the formation of complex substances from simpler forms which requires energy (produced via catabolism).
A mass of stone or metal that has reached the earth from outer space; a fallen meteoroid.
Meteorology is the study of the atmosphere, weather and weather conditions.
Study of weather conditions on a small scale.
An anchor or weight attached to the sea floor used to hold a scientific instrument in place.
An elementary particle with zero charge and zero mass. An electrically neutral particle that is often emitted in the process of radioactive decay of nuclei. Neutrinos are difficult to detect, and their existence was postulated twenty years before the first one was actually discovered in the laboratory. Millions of neutrinos produced by nuclear reactions in the sun pass through your body every second without disturbing any atoms.
The Iñupiaq name for Point Barrow and the people who lived there.
A location used for observing terrestrial and/or celestial events.
Organic carbon compounds form the physical basis for all living organisms.
Materials and debris that originated as living plants or animals.
Ozone is a molecule made up of three atoms of oxygen. Ozone occurs naturally in the stratosphere and provides a protective layer shielding the Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation. In the troposphere (the lower layer of the atmosphere up to approximately 15 km above the earth's surface), it is a chemical oxidant, a greenhouse gas, and a major component of photochemical smog.
Large pieces of floating ice driven together into a nearly continuous mass.
The Earth’s atmosphere in the past. Ice cores are one tool for reconstructing the Earth’s paleoatmospheres because ice contains gas bubbles that reflect the atmosphere when the bubbles formed.
The climate of a former period in geologic time.
The determination of past states of Earth’s climate (prior to historical or instrumental records) created by interpreting the climate signals contained in natural recorders such as tree rings, ice cores, deep sea and lake sediments, and cave deposits. Also, a reconstruction of past climates based on a model that uses paleoclimate data.
The study of the Earth’s past climates.
The study of the interaction between ancient organisms and their environment.
The study of ancient environments.
The science of representing the earth's geographic features belonging to any part of the geologic past.
Lasting throughout the year, or an indefinite amount of time.
The conditions, processes and landforms associated with cold environments.
Permanently frozen ground.
The scientific study of rocks.
The chemistry of the effects of light on chemical systems.
Related to an organism's normal biological and bodily functions.
Small or microscopic aquatic plants that float or drift in fresh or salt water.
Pinnipeds are aquatic mammals that use flippers for movement on land and in water such as seals, sea lions, and walruses. Pinniped means "fin-footed."
Feeds upon fishes.
The area of science of or pertaining to the planets; as, planetary inhabitants; planetary motions; planetary year, or a particulat planet, such as Earth.
Plankton are small or microscopic organisms that float or drift in fresh or salt water, especially at or near the surface, and serve as food for fish and other larger organisms.
A theory in which the crust of the earth is divided into a number of crustal plates, each of which moves more or less independently to collide with, slide under, or move past adjacent plates.
Substances that have a harmful effect on human and/or ecosystem health when present in high enough concentrations in water, air, or soil
A large and diverse group of segmented marine worms. All possess an array of bristles on their many leg-like parapodia.
Before the industrial revolution when technological changes led to greater burning of fossil fuels.
Organisms that make their own food from sunlight such as plants, phytoplankton and some bacteria.
The organic matter produced by plants through photosynthesis, using the energy of the sun. ie. the new growth of a blade of grass.
A method of estimating the distance or travel speed of an object by bouncing high frequency signals off the object and measuring the reflected signal.
The scanning of the earth by satellite or high-flying aircraft in order to obtain information about it.
Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)
A remotely operated vehicle is an unoccupied, maneuverable underwater robot operated by a human above the surface of the water. The ROV is linked to a human operator on land, ice, or on a ship by cables that carry electrical signals back and forth between the operator and the vehicle.
Sampling refers to the process of selecting units or portions of a larger group that will be studied in order to answer questions about the larger group. The units can be people, water samples, ice cores, or any other appropriate object. Participants will explore the meaning of sampling and how it impacts experimental design and explore factors that define and limit sampling in the variety of projects visited during the expedition. They will consider how results from the chosen samples are used to describe the bigger target of a project's study.
Synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) is a form of radar used to collect aerial images at high image resolutions. Because it uses radar signals instead of aerial photography, SAR allows images to be collected during night or periods of poor visibility. More information about how SAR works is available on the Sandia National Laboratory Website.
An object placed in orbit around the earth to collect or transmit information.
Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus
There are terms for different types of ice. Shorefast ice forms along coasts and is attached to land. Pack ice is ice floating in open water. Multiyear ice is ice that has survived at least 1 summer. First year ice is ice that has not yet survived a melting season.
The level of the surface of the ocean relative to the land, halfway between high and low tide, used as a standard in calculating elevation.
Sea stars (also known as starfish) are spiny, hard-skinned invertebrate animals that live on the rocky sea floor.
The process by which particles suspended in water settle to the bottom of ground surfaces.
In addition to being the acronym for this research project (Sea-ice Experiment—Dynamic Nature of the Arctic), SEDNA is also the name of the Inuit Goddess of the Sea. There are several variations of the mythological story of SEDNA, click here to read one.
A procedure that allows for the analysis of lower layers of a substrate through measurement and recording of sound waves transmitted below its surface.
The study of Earth through measurement and recording of sound waves transmitted below its surface.
The record of an earth tremor made by a seismograph.
Sessile organisms are permanently attached to a substrate and therefore not free to move around such as a barnacle.
Snow crabs live in the colder waters of both the Pacific and the Atlantic. Click here to read more about snow crabs.
Power produced and collected from the sun’s radiation.
A method or device for detecting and locating objects by means of sound waves sent out to be reflected by the objects.
Spectacled Eiders are diving ducks that live in the arctic year round. Click here to read more about the spectacled eider.
Spitsbergen is the largest island in the Norwegian High Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. To see a map of Spitsbergen and Svalbard click here.
The layer of the atmosphere above the troposphere and below the mesosphere (between 15 km and 50 km). Click here to see a diagram of the different layers of the atmosphere.
Depressions in the Earth located beneath a glacier.
Surface rocks that were directly hit with an impactor, such as a meterorite.
Transmission of remote measurement data.
Pertaining to land.
Thermohaline circulation is ocean water movement driven by differences in density caused by changes in temperature and salinity. One way to remember this term is: thermo= temperature and haline=salt.
A glacier which flows into, or who’s terminus ends in the ocean.
Chemical elements required for proper growth of many organisms but found in very small quantities.
Chemistry of the troposphere, the lowest and densest region of the Earth's atmosphere which extends from the Earth's surface to the tropopause. The weather, major wind systems, and cloud formations occur mostly in the troposphere.
A treeless area between the icecap and the tree line of arctic regions, having a permanently frozen subsoil and supporting low-growing vegetation such as lichens, mosses, and stunted shrubs.
A plant community that forms a clump. In the Arctic, the tussocks are equal parts graminoids (sedges and grasses), moss and shrubs.
A highly maneuverable utility aircraft developed by de Havilland Canada. It can be flown slowly and in tight circles, and is designed for 20 passengers, short takeoffs and landings, and often used for cargo, passengers, and as a science platform.
(abbreviation) United States Antarctic Program
Annual silt and clay couplets preserved in lake and marine sediments that can be used to reconstruct environmental changes.
The scientific study of volcanoes and related processes.
Hypothetical 'cylinder' of water between the surface of the ocean and the ocean bottom.
A zooarchaeologist studies the remains of animals from archaeological sites.
Small or microscopic aquatic animals that float or drift in fresh or salt water.