Knowledge of the Whole
Knowledge of life in extreme environments helps us to understand not only how life may have begun on Earth, but also what we may find beyond our own planet. Records from ice and sediment cores reveal past climate patterns, helping scientists to anticipate future scenarios and maybe allowing policymakers to make more informed decisions. Following ethical principles in partnership with Arctic communities brings researchers to a deeper understanding of their own scientific methods while enabling them to listen to local knowledge and oral traditions.
What will happen to the sea ice in the Arctic and the massive glaciers in the Antarctic? How will ecosystems adapt to the rapid changes observed over the last few years? Data captured at the poles show that the Earth is a total system where cause and effect know no north or south. The Arctic and Antarctic both register the effects of, and have their own influence on, global circulation patterns in the ocean and atmosphere.
NSF has enabled science to reach the most remote and seemingly forbidding regions on Earth, only to discover that these regions may hold the key to a global understanding. As scientists make discoveries at the ice's edge, they join earlier generations of hunters, explorers, and navigators in a time-honored quest for knowledge of the extreme, leading to knowledge of the whole.