International Polar Year, or IPY (2007-2009) is by far the most exciting international scientific and educational opportunity of this century. For the next two years, all eyes will be focused on the physical, social and human dimensions of our planet's polar regions. Watch this blog for news related to Canadian outreach and education efforts related to IPY. Of particular interest to educators! Note: This blog is created independently of any official IPY organization

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Upcoming IPY events

Hello everyone,
Thought I’d send out a quick update on some of the conferences, workshops and events happening in the next little while that deal with northern science and International Polar Year.  There are sure to be some I’ve missed but this list is wide ranging, including events here in Whitehorse as well as conferences as far afield as Miami and Oslo.


Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
September 28 – 30, 2009

Northern Contaminants Program
 17th Annual NCP Results Workshop
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2009

Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS).
9th ACUNS International Student Conference on Northern Studies and Polar Regions
Communities of Change – Building an IPY Legacy
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
Oct. 2 – 5, 2009

International Polar Week
October 5 – 9, 2009
focus on recruiting new individual and institutional partners, will stimulate increased engagement by polar partners, and will highlight classroom activities developed for the new IPY Polar Resource Book.

Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS)
IPY International Early Career Researcher Symposium
Victoria, B.C. Canada
Dec. 4 – 8, 2009
More info

6th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM2009)
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Dec. 8 – 11, 2009

Canadian International Polar Year Early Results workshop
February 2010 (tentative)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

International Polar Week
March 2010
 focus on local community-building activities, will connect new and existing partners in science outreach

State of the Arctic Conference
Miami, Florida
March 16 – 19, 2010

IPY Oslo Science Conference
Polar Science - Global Impact
Oslo, Norway
June 8 – 12, 2010

IPY Teachers conference in Oslo
Date: 6th-7th June 2010  (Teacher workshop) 8th-12th June (IPY Oslo Science Conference)
Place: Oslo, Norway
Size of the event: 120 teacher participants (3000 + participants in the science conference)
Conditions: Accommodation fully covered (6 nights) + other costs in Oslo (Included local bus fares, Resource book and other materials). Participants cover their own travel costs to/from Oslo. Fee for full conference: Euro 230

Teacher Conference:  During the 2-day workshop:
1)     Educators will meet and interact with polar scientists who will share their latest research and findings during the IPY.
2)     An international group of educators will lead the participants in activities developed to transfer the science to classrooms.
3)     Participants will receive the IPY resource book that will make its debut at this conference.
4)     Special excursions and social events will be part of the 2-day experience in beautiful Oslo!
Note: The deadline to express interest was September 9th but there may still be an opportunity

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More polar links

In addition to the Polar Palooza resources Louise mentioned, please take a look at the narrated videos showing time-lapse changes of glaciers in Alaska, Greenland and Iceland from the Extreme Ice Survey:

Many of you probably saw the NOVA PBS program last spring on the making of these time-lapse movies:

A Plethora of IPY, Arctic/Antarctic Links

This from Louise at ANDRILL

Dear ANDRILLians,
My friend, Geoff Haines-Stiles from Polar Palooza, sent me this great list of their fantastic videos and resources and has invited all of you to use them. If you haven't seen these, check them out!

A favorite is "Take Aim at Climate Change," a rap song and music video showing IPY research and why it matters, and providing practical suggestions for how all and any of us can take simple steps to reduce consumption and cut emissions of greenhouse gases.

The online resources include links to deeper background on 12 key concepts, and URLs for further study. Educators can use the reference material for independent study or review in class.


1) Alaskan Native perspectives on climate change:
"Richard Glenn - At Home in Two Worlds."
Richard Glenn, a professional geologist as well as whaling captain, an enthusiast for traditional music as well as rock drummer, lives in Barrow, the northernmost community in the United States. There he works as VP of Lands for the $1.6 billion per year Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. In this video he takes us on a tour of Barrow, and points out what's changing and why it matters.
Orville Huntington - "It's a Changing Thing"
In Huslia, a small township of 300 Native Alaskans on the Koyukuk River, climate change is impacting the whole community. Tribal counselor and wildlife biologist Orville Huntington guides us out on the river, to fish, and into the woods to hunt moose. On the river, he's seeing diseases that he thinks are caused by abnormally warm waters. In the forest, the trees and plants are also changing - some blooming in Fall instead of Spring. That makes Orville wonder about the future of his family and his region.
“Alaskan Native views of Climate Change”
This short two-minute video features Perry Pungowiyi from the Native Village of Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. It's his second time on board the HEALY where he was invited by Chief Scientist, Jackie Grebmeier, to observe and participate in some of the research that was being done during the cruise, including the NOAA/National Marine Mammal Laboratory study of Arctic ice seals and observations of spectacled eiders. He wants viewers to appreciate that he is speaking here as an individual, and that his comments should not be taken as the views and opinions of the people of St. Lawrence Island.

2) Arctic research:
“George Divoky: The Bird-Watcher Who Saw the Future”
For nearly 35 years George Divoky has been returning to Cooper Island, a small, low strip of desolate land close to Barrow, AK. Initially he went there simply to study Black Guillemots, but as - over the decades - he tracked the dates of their arrival and the new chicks hatching, he realized he was documenting how climate change was affecting both an organism and an ecosystem. As summer ice retreated, food for the chicks was harder and harder to find - and polar bears began to roam the beach.
POLAR-PALOOZA produced this segment for the PBS Lehrer Newshour showing NYU oceanographer David Holland working on the Jakobshavn Glacier and ice fjord, Greenland's most active glacier. Also has comments by fishermen and others in Ilulissat about climate and social changes.
"Reading Ice Cores"
In May and June 2007, Mary Albert (CRREL) and Jeff Severinghaus (Scripps) led a team of 9 researchers and 3 drillers in a 3-week project to drill down through nearly 125 meters of "firn" and ice close to NSF's Summit Station, Greenland. "Firn" is multi-year snow before it's transformed into solid ice through the pressure of layer upon layer of new snow each successive year. Understanding the physical structure of the firn and the gases trapped in it, is essential to properly interpreting the ice core record, and understanding what cores reveal about Earth's past climate. As Jeff Severinghaus says, with a more accurate understanding of snow, firn and ice you can take climate data from ice cores "to the bank" - such as the fact that sometimes Earth's climate can jump 18 degrees F in just a decade - and make more accurate predictions of the future.
“Ice Drillers are Hard Core"
Deciphering the secrets of past climate hidden in ice cores depends on the technical skills and ingenuity under pressure of drillers from ICDS, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Ice Coring and Drilling Services. In this video, ICDS staffers Lou, Mike and Jay explain why they enjoy the life of drillers, braving extreme cold in some of the remotest regions of the globe. Mike says drilling requires both science and art, and why he keeps his hand on the cable even when it's minus 20; Lou talks about feeling connected to the equipment in order to keep it running properly, and Jay explains the satisfaction of having fun amidst beautiful scenery, and helping obtain good data for the researchers.
“Justin and Bonnie - Undergrads at Work”
As seen in "Captain Jack and the Halogen Hunters" (see other links in MEDIA PALOOZA), Summit Station, Greenland is a hothouse of climate change research in one of the coldest places on Earth. Here professors like Jack Dibb run sophisticated experiments, but as you'll see in this video, some of the work relies on undergraduates like Justin Juhan from Southern Polytechnic, and Bonnie Reichardt, Georgia Tech. As you'll also see, as well as working the night shift, they have time for fun - sumo wrestling as well as science.
“APLIS Ice Camp - Science”
Scenes from the very first US IPY experiment, studying the dynamics of sea ice off Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. This "Sedna" experiment was co-lead by three female Principal Investigators, another first.
“Climate-driven Change in the Northern Bering Sea”
Chief scientist Jackie Grebmeier's May-June 2007 cruise aboard the USCGC HEALY looked at climate change and its impact on the local marine ecosystem, from the smallest creatures to those farther up the food chain. Also on board, and leading off our report, Perry Pungowiyi, a Siberian Yupik who's been noticing changes in the abundance of sea-ice, and the timing of its appearance and disappearance. See a seal census, with white-clad NOAA researchers (for camouflage) jumping from ice floe to ice floe. Hear from the researchers how a changing environment impacts all the inhabitants of the narrow ocean that stretches between Alaska and Siberia, till now one of the most productive seas in the world, and a major fishery on which the USA depends. Meet the inhabitants of this aquatic "neighborhood", as Jackie describes it, and learn what makes it tick... and change.

Antarctic Research:
“Studying Seals”
Bob Garrott and his team of students and assistants from Montana State return each year to one of the most amazing locations on Earth, where sea-ice bumps up against the land, opening up cracks that become nurseries for each new generation of Weddell seals. A close-up look at the first few months of a pup that may gain 200 pounds in just a few weeks. Venture out with the researchers as they carefully weigh and photograph the seals.
This 4-part podcast mini-series documents the harsh reality of doing science in Antarctica, where nothing goes as planned, and ingenuity, patience and dedication are always required.
In part 1, "The Road Less Traveled", NASA's Bob Bindschadler and NYU's David Holland set off for Antarctica and explain their mission. Then, accompanied by a mountaineer and POLAR-PALOOZA's embedded cameraman, they head off to the WAIS Divide Camp, jumping off point for their trip to the PIG, the Pine Island Glacier.
Part 4, "Antarctica Is In Charge". Reunited after challenges imposed by crevasses and bad weather, the full team deploys two GPS units which they hope will document the rapid movement of the PIG. Holland and Bindshadler explain the significance of their work, their recognition that weather and logistics dictate what any researcher can achieve here, and yet express their satisfaction at visiting places no human ever has before, and surmounting challenges in order to have a good shot at getting data needed for humans to figure out the future.
“The Traverse Begins” - #3 of a 6-part mini-series on the Norwegian-US Scientific Traverse of East Antarctica. (#1 and #2 show the flight from South Africa to Antarctica, and final tests at Norway’s Troll Station.)
After three weeks of hectic preparation, including placing brand new Norwegian and US flags - and decals for NSF and the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) - on the tracked vehicles, the traverse rolls out on November 16, 2007, heading for South Pole, more than 3,000 kms away. NPI's Jan-Gunnar Winther thinks a successful traverse will be a historic milestone in both exploration and cutting-edge science. The train of heavily-laden sleds passes spectacular mountain scenery as it climbs away from Troll Station up to the flat, white polar plateau. At their first science stop, researchers Mary Albert, Tom Neumann and Lou Albershardt dig a snow pit, and explain why they are sampling seasonal layers and photographing ice crystals - in part to gather "ground truth" to calibrate NASA's satellite observations of the vast and little known East Antarctic.
“Vctory Awaits” – finale of the US-Norwegian Traverse as the team eventually arrives at South Pole Station, with more ice core than initially planned. But they fly in by plane, since after failures in their gear boxes, they have had to leave their vehicles more than 250 kms from the Pole. Thoughts from “Camp Winter” and the completion of their amazing scientific adventure.
“Students on Board” and “Core Curriculum” – parts 1 & 2 of the “From Louisiana to Antarctica” mini-series. Set sail with LSU geology professor Phil Bart and a team of students - both undergrads and graduates - on board the NATHANIEL B. PALMER. See what they saw as they left McMurdo Station, and set off for the Ross Sea, to study evidence left by ancient ice sheets which may help predict the rate and extent of future sea level rise. Philip Bergeron, one of the undergrads, reads a page from his journey detailing their scientific adventure.
Then, in temperatures far below zero, with ice needing to be chipped off their instruments, the team set to work. Bart and Co-PI, Jonathan Tomkins, describe their research - and the students tell of what feels like "the worst game of tug-of-war, evah..." as they man- (and woman-) handle the muddy core tubes to get at their precious samples. Not everything goes exactly as planned. The jumbo piston core comes up bent, but they recover and get good data.
ANSMET – The Antarctic Search for Meteorites
Out on the "blue ice" in some of the most extreme conditions on the entire Continent, a small team of hardy researchers search for chunks of the Moon, Mars and asteroid belt, fallen to Earth as meteorites. Go behind the scenes and see, in intimate detail, how they keep warm, what they eat and wear, and how they find rocks from outer space - and hear from team leader, Ralph Harvey, why they risk life and limb in ANSMET, the Antarctic Search for Meteorites, an ongoing project supported by both NSF and NASA.
Join John Priscu and team as - for the first time ever - American researchers stay out in the field for an extended research season in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, as the Antarctic summer of 24/7 days begins to turn into 24/7 night. John and colleagues explain why these valleys and their microbial ecosystem are so unique, and why it's worth the risk and discomfort to stay on so late, sampling lakes in temperatures more than 40 degrees below. This video shows some of the amazing Dry Valley landscapes in rare low-light conditions.
Also – a handy digest of Polar Misperceptions, which could be used as a kind of quiz or discussion starter:
Educators’ Corner provides links (see the drop-down menu) to NASA and others science animations which can be downloaded, and simple, low-cost hands-on activities developed by POLAR-PALOOZA and others.

ANDRILL Coordinator of Education and Public Outreach

ANDRILL Science Management Office
126 Bessey Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE  68588-0341

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A couple of polar notes of interest

Russian-U.S. Arctic Census 2009 August 22 - September 30, 2009 ***************************************************** The RUSALCA mission set sail from Nome, Alaska on the Russian Research Vessel Professor Khromov on August 22, for a 40-day voyage into the Bering Strait and northwards to the Pacific side of the Arctic Ocean. RUSALCA stands for Russian-American Long Term Census of the Arctic, and also means mermaid in Russian. RUSALCA is managed by NOAA¹s Arctic Research Program with contribution from Ocean Exploration and Research, and in Russia by Group Alliance. The public can learn more about this international expedition through blog posts, written by Reuters reporter Jeffrey Jones, who is onboard the first leg of the 2009 RUSALCA expedition. Check out the expedition online at ! __________________ New from NASA Š This week we have three new ice science stories, along with television interview and Web chat opportunities ... LIVE TV INTERVIEWS on SEPT 2 - Take a tour of some the coldest places on the planet and chat with NASA scientists about changes to ice sheets and sea ice at both Poles. Get an up-close view of the new HD "Tour of the Cryosphere 2009." Interviews are live from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center to your studio. Contact Laura Motel: 301-286-0918 (office), 202-329-5359 (cell), or USTREAM LIVE CHAT ­ What's Going On with Earth's Ice & Snow Cover? The public can chat live with NASA cryosphere scientist Tom Wagner about changes to ice sheets and sea ice at both Poles. -- Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 12:30 p.m. EDT NEWS - Satellites and Submarines Give the Skinny on Sea Ice Thickness Ron Kwok (JPL) and Drew Rothrock (U of Washington) have combined satellite data with Cold War submarine observations to piece together a five-decade history of Arctic ice thickness. The new record shows that since a peak in 1980, sea ice thickness has declined 53 percent. Read more at: ANALYSIS ­ What's holding Antarctic sea ice back from melting? There¹s something peculiar going on around Antarctica. As global air and ocean temperatures rise and Arctic ice recedes, Antarctic sea ice has expanded by about 1 percent per decade. Why is there such a drastic difference in the behavior of Earth's polar regions? Scientists from Goddard and the University of Washington offer three theories. Read more at: NEWS - Map Characterizes Active Lakes Below Antarctic Ice Researchers analyzed 4.5 years of ice elevation data from ICESat to create the most complete inventory to date of changes in the Antarctic plumbing system. The team has mapped the location of 124 active lakes, estimated how fast they drain or fill, and described the implications for lake and ice-sheet dynamics. Read more at: Contact: Kathryn Hansen NASA Earth Science News Team Wyle Information Systems 301-352-4638 /