“Impacts of Climate on Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment” is a multi-year NASA shipborne project to investigate the impacts of climate change on the ecology and biogeochemistry of the Arctic. During five weeks at sea, more than 40 scientists will sample the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the ocean and sea ice.
A variety of instruments will be used onboard HEALY and deployed into the ocean and on the sea ice. An automated microscope onboard will take continuous digital photographs of phytoplankton cells for near-real time observations of the quantity of different species. Floats with near-real time satellite communication will be placed in the ocean to measure temperature and various biological and optical properties. Scientists also will work on the sea ice several hundred yards from the ship to study the condition of the ice and sample the ocean ecosystem beneath it.
There are a number of ways to follow HEALY’s scientific adventure:
- NASA’s Arctic Voyage 2010 blog features blog posts from a variety of men and women on the cutter. Earlier this week, U.S. Coast Guard Captain William Rall discussed exactly how the icebreaker breaks ice.
- Ensign Emily Kehrt, HEALY’s Public Affairs Officer, will also be providing regular updates. In a recent blog post on The Coast Guard Compass, she described how the Coast Guard Marine Science Division onboard has been exceptionally busy, helping the scientists operate all of HEALY’s science equipment.
- The USCG Icebreaker Science Operations website provides a glorious Google map to track the HEALY’s voyage. The map even lets you drill down to specific latitude and longitudinal coordinates and get information on temperature and humidity.
ICESCAPE science teams are led by researchers from Stanford University, the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, N.H.; Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif.; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass.; University of Washington, Seattle; Clark University, Worcester, Mass.; and the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, St. George’s.