About the expedition
Geographer and glaciologist Julienne Stroeve travels to the Arctic Ocean this fall to study sea ice at its lowest extent since satellites started measuring it in 1979. Stroeve is a research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center and studies sea ice to understand how a seasonally ice-free Arctic will impact climate in the Northern Hemisphere.
On August 26, sea ice cover in the Arctic melted to its lowest extent in the satellite record and broke the previous record low observed in 2007. NSIDC scientists predict that the Arctic could be essentially ice-free at summer’s end by the year 2030. The pronounced decline in summer Arctic sea ice over the last decade is considered a strong signal of long-term climate warming. Stroeve’s research expedition comes at the cusp of fundamental changes to the Arctic’s sea ice cover–from older ice that is hard to melt, to seasonal ice that melts more quickly.
Juelienne will be traveling from Boulder, Colorado in the United States to Tromsø, Norway. From there, she will travel by ship to the Arctic’s ice edge between Svalbard and Franz Josef Land. Julienne will be studying sea ice the following ways:
Ice Watch: From the ship’s bridge, Stroeve will survey ice conditions, including concentration, thickness, amounts of different ice types (first, multiyear, ridged, ponded), presence of biology, etc.
Ice Thickness and Snow Depth: Stroeve will drill through the ice when possible to measure ice thickness and snow depth (if any snow).
Ponds: Stroeve will be on the lookout for ponds and will be noting pond characterization including pond length, width, and depth, as well as the condition of the pond bottom (solid, rotten, melted through).
Sea Surface Temperature: Stroeve will be recording skin temperature from the ship’s rail with a KT19 radiometer to look at comparisons between the skin temperature and the mixed layer temperature of the ocean.
Ice temperature: Stroeve will collect validation data for the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS).