Acid rain in the Northeast, urban growth in Phoenix, climate change in the Arctic. El Niņo and West Coast fisheries, land-use change in New England, nutrients in watersheds in the Midwest. Scientists are peering into the future to discern long-term outcomes of these and other environmental changes. Read more in this discovery.
Credit: David Foster, NSF Harvard Forest LTER Site
In May 2013, geologists aboard the scientific ocean drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution embarked on an adventure: studying glaciers to learn how Earth's geologic processes relate to the planet's climate history. For several months, the international team of researchers collected and studied sediments from five locations in the Gulf of Alaska. The goal: investigate interactions between long-term climate change, including the fluctuations of large glaciers, and how mountains form. Read more in this news release.
Credit: John Jaeger
The Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS) of the Directorate for Geosciences, supports research to add new understanding of the behavior of the Earth's atmosphere and its interactions with the sun.
The Division of Polar Programs of the Directorate for Geosciences manages and initiates NSF funding for basic research and its operational support in the Arctic and the Antarctic. The funds are provided as NSF grants to institutions (mainly U.S. universities), whose scientists perform the research at the institutions or in a polar region, and as cooperative agreements or contracts to support organizations including contractors and the U.S. military.
NSF, in cooperation with the Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC) and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF), successfully launched the R/V Sikuliaq, a "next-generation" global class research vessel, in October 2012.
September 29, 2014
Alaska mountain glaciers retreating due to climate change
Scientists are reconstructing the climate history to gauge the potential contribution to sea-level rise
Tighten your seat belt! This runway is made of ice.
Welcome to the Ruth Glacier, deep inside Alaska's Denali National Park. Many of the visitors are here for backcountry skiing, but this is no vacation for University of Maine paleoclimatologist Karl Kreutz and his team. For them, time on the ice is all part of the job.
With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the scientists are working to reconstruct the climate history of this area over the last thousand years. They're researching the relationship between the temperatures and precipitation rates, and the response of glaciers in this area to climate changes.
In 2013, the team drilled ice cores high atop Denali's Mount Hunter. By carefully analyzing ice layers inside the cores, the team is developing a record of temperature change in the Alaska range over the last millennium. While the vast majority of glacier ice on our planet lies in Greenland and Antarctica, Kreutz says the glaciers in Alaska could also make a significant contribution to global sea-level rise in the coming decades.
The research in this episode was supported by NSF award #1203838, Collaborative Research: Paleo Perspectives on Climate Change (P2C2)--Reconstructing Central Alaskan Precipitation Variability and Atmospheric Circulation during the Past Millennium. This collaboration between Erich Osterberg (award #1204035, Dartmouth College, lead), Cameron Wake (award #1203863, University of New Hampshire) and Karl Kreutz (award #1203838, University of Maine) will continue work begun under Wake's previous PLR grant #0714004: COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: Drillsite Reconaissance and Snow Chemistry Survey in Denali National Park.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.