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ALISON (Image 6)


Marge Porter of Somers School, Conn., measures ice thickness

ALISON (Image 6)

Marge Porter of Somers School, Conn., measures ice thickness at 35.8 Mile Pond, an ALISON site. The ALISON (Alaska Lake Ice and Snow Observatory Network) program is a science education and scientific research partnership between the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and the K-12 education community in Alaska.

The ALISON program builds on investigations by principal investigator Martin Jeffries of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, of ice growth, conductive heat flow, and ice decay on ponds in the vicinity of Poker Flat Research Range, located roughly 50 kilometers north-east of Fairbanks. During the course of three winters Jeffries has taken measurements at ten ponds between 29.5 Mile and 36.6 Mile Steese Highway. Unfortunately, these ponds are occasionally visited by snowmobiles, which disturb the snow cover and affect measurements. Jeffries investigation began in October 1999 and it has continued each winter since then.

Measurements taken at the observatory sites will be used for numerical modeling to simulate the variability of lake ice growth and decay at the present time and during the period of meteorological record in the different climate zones of Alaska, and to understand the factors responsible for that variability in order to predict the response of the ice to future climate change.

Porter first worked with Jeffries in Antarctica in 1994 under the auspices of the National Science Foundation program Teachers Experiencing Antarctica and the Arctic (TEA) and they have continued to work together since. A high school biology and environmental science teacher from Connecticut, Porter has visited each winter of the study.

In addition to participating in the Poker Flat study and working with Fairbanks teachers, Marge has used Antarctic sea ice data in the classroom; encouraged her students to communicate by e-mail with Jeffries when he has been in the Antarctic pack ice aboard the research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer; and taken her students outside on the school grounds to measure snow depth and temperature, determine snow density, and calculate the conductive heat flow through the snow. Most recently in February 2005, Marge brought seven of her students to Fairbanks during spring break.

This research was supported by National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs grant OPP 03-26631. (Date of Image: March 2000) [One of 8 related images. See Next Image.]

Credit: Photo by Martin Jeffries, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

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