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Media Advisory 07-018

NSF Invites Media to Apply for August Visit to Arctic Field Science Sites in Greenland

Deadline is July 2; deployments to take place between August 6-11, 2007

Summit Camp, Greenland

Summit Camp, Greenland

June 15, 2007

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting written requests from professional journalists to report on atmospheric and climate science supported in Greenland by NSF's Office of Polar Programs (OPP).

OPP and NSF's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA) jointly manage and coordinate media visits to the Polar Regions.

NSF supports numerous scientific projects in Greenland, many of which are international in scope. NSF will select a small group of journalists to visit the Greenland Environmental Observatory, Summit (GEOSummit) and other remote sites in Greenland--as weather permits--that represent the range of science in the area. Journalists would deploy between August 6 and 11, 2007.

At least three projects related to climate and environmental chemistry will be open to media visits:

  • The Greenland Ice Sheet is undergoing remarkable changes, as evidenced by surface melt ponds and glacial retreat. Satellites have estimated the volume of the Greenland ice sheet, but without ground-based measurements, it is impossible to know how much ice is on Greenland. POLENET, an international project funded by NSF for International Polar Year (IPY), will place 34 ground GPS stations around the entire coastline of Greenland to provide the measurements necessary to calculate the volume of the ice sheet. Similar instruments will be deployed in Antarctica during IPY. This network of GPS stations will improve scientists' abilities to understand how the ice sheets are changing and their potential impact on global sea level.
  • In another project, researchers are collecting snow from across the Arctic to measure the black carbon content. The carbon content strongly affects the amount of sunlight absorbed by the snow and thereby increases its melt rate.
  • A third project will be analyzing snow chemistry at Summit to measure levels of atmospheric elements in the snow that result from industrial emissions.

How to apply: Applicants must submit the equivalent of two printed pages detailing specifically what they intend to cover while in the field. NSF public affairs officers can help applicants to craft a proposed reporting plan that has the best chance of meeting minimum criteria.

A selection committee of Division of Arctic Sciences personnel and media officers from OLPA will review all proposals and select finalists. The committee will look for proposals that indicate an understanding of the nature and challenges of NSF's scientific enterprise in the Arctic and the desire and ability to communicate that understanding to the public.

Application Deadline: July 2, 2007. U.S. media receive preference in selection.

Application: Focused applications with thorough reporting plans that indicate solid working knowledge of NSF's science goals in the Arctic and an intent to highlight for the public the scientific discoveries taking place there stand the best chance of selection.

Expenses: NSF furnishes at no cost cold-weather clothing, solely for use in the field, as well as housing, transportation and food while in the field.

How To Apply: Contact the NSF media officer listed below (by phone or by e-mail) as soon as possible to express interest. Freelancers are eligible for consideration but must supply with their letter of application evidence of a firm commitment from prospective employer to publish or air their work on their employer's letterhead.

Send the application letter to:
National Science Foundation
Office of Legislative and Public Affairs
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1245
Arlington, VA 22230

Attn: Peter West, (703) 292-7761 /

Background: In March of 2007, scientists around the globe began a widespread, coordinated range of research as part of the 2007-2008 International Polar Year (IPY). The observations supported by NSF in Greenland on environmental chemistry and the status of the Greenland ice sheet are key IPY investigations. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has designated NSF as the lead U.S. agency for IPY.

GeoSummit sits atop the Greenland ice sheet, the largest in the northern hemisphere. Measurements taken at GeoSummit continue base-line, year-round measurements of key atmospheric-change indicators. Numerous science campaigns have been conducted at Summit Camp during the past decade, the most notable being the GISP2 ice-coring project. The GISP core provides a long-term climate record for the northern hemisphere. The summit site has proven a nearly ideal location for studies of climate change and snow chemistry. Research has shown that chemistry occurring in the snow acts as a major source and sink of several atmospheric compounds important to both climate regulation and upper-atmospheric ozone. Understanding these dynamics will enable more accurate analysis of ice cores and better forecasts of future conditions on Earth.


Media Contacts
Peter West, NSF, (703) 292-7761, email:

Program Contacts
Kim L. Silverman, NSF, (703) 292-7530, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2020, its budget is $8.3 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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