BOULDER--Thanks to a scientist from the National Center for AtmosphericResearch (NCAR), students from around the world can join in theexcitement of a six-week field study at the South Pole's new Clean AirFacility. Lee Mauldin, a scientist from NCAR's headquarters in Boulder,Colorado, is one of four staff stationed at the Pole through mid-December for the Investigation of Sulfur Chemistry in the AntarcticTroposphere (ISCAT). While there, Lee is maintaining a Web site withfrequent updates and kid-friendly language explaining the science,geography, and logistics behind a South Pole expedition. The site is athttp://www.acd.ucar.edu/spole. ISCAT is supported by the NationalScience Foundation, NCAR's primary sponsor.
"To me it's a neat thing just to be able to go [to the Pole]," saysMauldin. He envisions the Web site as a "virtual field trip." The siteincludes digital-camera photos and a link to Mauldin's electronicmailbox. "Hopefully we can get some input from schools and answer theirquestions by e-mail," he says. He has already heard from Navajo studentsin New Mexico who are following his project through the Web. Mauldinplans a similar Web project next spring while he is in the South Pacificfor a tropical field experiment. That site will be accessible from theWeb page for NCAR's Atmospheric Chemistry Division,http://www.acd.ucar.edu.
The goal of ISCAT is to study sulfate chemistry at the Pole, a site withfew human influences on atmospheric chemistry and no local sources ofdimethyl sulfide or sulfur dioxide, the two primary sources of airbornesulfur. Air routinely sinks from higher altitudes to ground level at thePole. With its elevation of nearly two miles (three kilometers), airquality is comparable to that found elsewhere well above ground level.Joining Lee on the experiment are NCAR coinvestigator Fred Eisele,scientist Dave Tanner, and technician Ed Kosciuch. NCAR's team willaccompany researchers and instruments from Drexel University, theGeorgia Institute of Technology, and the Universities of Minnesota, NewMexico, and California, Irvine.
This fall's field work is the first of two rounds scheduled for thefour-year ISCAT program. The second field phase will take place in thefall of 2000 and will be keyed to answering questions that arise fromthis year's sampling. Years two and four will be devoted to dataanalysis.
The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium ofmore than 60 universities offering Ph.D.s in atmospheric and relatedsciences, manages NCAR.
Note: You can also find this news release on the World Wide Web athttp://www.ucar.edu/publications/newsreleases/1998/ISCAT.html
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