Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Crossing Alaska By Snowmobile In Search Of Climate-Change Clues

Date:
March 26, 2002
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
A group of scientists left Nome, Alaska late last week on a 35-day snowmobile traverse to scour the Alaskan tundra for clues to the role snow cover plays in climate change. The team also will analyze the chemistry and composition of snow along the route to determine the source of the snow, and how much it has been affected by arctic haze.

A group of scientists left Nome, Alaska late last week on a 35-day snowmobile traverse to scour the Alaskan tundra for clues to the role snow cover plays in climate change. The team also will analyze the chemistry and composition of snow along the route to determine the source of the snow, and how much it has been affected by arctic haze.

Related Articles


Supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the six-member Snow Science Traverse – Alaska Region (SnowSTAR 2002) expedition plans to cover 1,100 kilometers (700 miles) -- from Nome, northeast through the Brooks mountain range to Barrow. The team plans to sample snow at more than 75 locations.

The traverse is part of an ongoing larger project to understand climate change in the arctic, titled ATLAS (Arctic Transitions in Land Atmosphere System) and sponsored by the Arctic System Science program within NSF’s Office of Polar Programs. Matthew Sturm, of the Army's Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory at Fort Wainwright, Alaska will lead the team.

The team will measure snow depth, density and layering during the traverse, and will make detailed measurements of snow layering or stratigrapy. These measurements will be used to determine regional trends in the snow properties.

Several lines of evidence indicate that climate change is likely to be amplified in the arctic and therefore easier to detect there than at lower latitudes. Air temperatures in the Alaskan arctic have increased two to four degrees Celsius in the past 30 years, and evidence suggests changes are already occurring in terrestrial ecosystems. Snow covers the arctic for seven to 10 months of the year and is thought to play a key role in this process of change.

The researchers will be looking at two processes: the role of key weather events in the development of the snow pack, and the interaction of the snow and vegetation. Previous studies have shown that arctic snow pack consists of between five and eight layers of snow deposited by a like number of storms.

Chemical sampling of the snow will help determine if there is a difference between the winter precipitation source for the arctic slope versus south of the Brooks Range and if the precipitation source changes through the winter as the Chukchi, Beaufort, and Bering Seas freeze. By tracing the snow’s chemicals, such as calcium, magnesium, and various isotopes such as Boron and Deuterium, the team hopes to pinpoint where the snow originated and its atmospheric history. The data gathered during the traverse will help show how key meteorological events determine the characteristics of the snow.

The studies related to snow and vegetation are motivated by previous findings that the presence of shrubs may promote further shrub growth by increasing the amount of snow on the ground. Climate warming also promotes increased plant production, so the two processes may feed back in complex ways.

Snow measurements will be taken along the tundra-forest boundary between Council and Ambler, a small village on the Kobuk River. North of the Brooks Range, measurements will be taken on the tundra. The tundra north of the Brooks Range is much less shrubby than the tundra of the south range.

April Cheuvrant, a teacher at Table Rock Middle School in Morganton, N.C., will accompany the traverse as part of NSF’s Teachers Experiencing the Arctic and Antarctic (TEA) Program. She will assist in conducting sampling and interacting with Native Alaskans in villages along the traverse route.

###

To follow the progress of April Cheuvrant’s trip, see her journal on the TEA Web site: http://tea.rice.edu/tea_cheuvrontfrontpage.html

For more information about the TEA program, see: http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/media/01/fstea.htm

For more information about NSF’s arctic sciences section, see: http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/media/01/fsarctic.htm

For more information about how NSF meets the challenges of conducting science in the polar regions, see: http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/media/01/fslogistics.htm


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Crossing Alaska By Snowmobile In Search Of Climate-Change Clues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020326073322.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2002, March 26). Crossing Alaska By Snowmobile In Search Of Climate-Change Clues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020326073322.htm
National Science Foundation. "Crossing Alaska By Snowmobile In Search Of Climate-Change Clues." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020326073322.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) A mudslide triggered by monsoon rains buried scores of workers' houses at a tea plantation in central Sri Lanka on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people and leaving more than 250 missing, an official said. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) The Galapagos tortoise has made a stupendous recovery from the brink of extinction to a population of more than 1,000. But it still faces threats. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A solar energy project in the Tunisian Sahara aims to generate enough clean energy by 2018 to power two million European homes. Matt Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins