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Media Advisory


NSF PA/M 03-46 - October 24, 2003

Arctic Researchers to Discuss NSF-Led, Interagency Initiative to Quantify Arctic Environmental Change

For B-roll on Beta SP, contact Dena Headlee, (703) 292-7739,
For still images at print resolution, contact Peter West, (703) 292-7761

Researchers from around the world will meet later this month in Seattle, Wash., to discuss what science can tell us about environmental changes occurring in the Arctic as well as the next scientific steps needed to better understand the complex physical processes that govern the Arctic environment.

The first open science meeting for the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH), a multi-agency initiative led by the National Science Foundation (NSF), will take place from Oct. 27-30. SEARCH is a broad, interdisciplinary program of long-term observations, analysis and modeling aimed at understanding a series of significant and apparently interrelated changes that have occurred across the Arctic in recent decades.

Two SEARCH researchers-James Morison, of the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory, and Peter Schlosser, of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University-will speak at a press briefing on Oct. 28. They will discuss what SEARCH scientists have learned about changes in sea-ice coverage, temperatures and other physical factors in the Arctic and where future research directions may lead. Other panelists will address long-term trends in climate change from a paleoclimatology perspective, discuss contemporary trends in the Arctic's marine and terrestrial environments and examine the social and economic impacts of these changes on Native and other Arctic populations.

Reporters in the Seattle area are invited to the media briefing at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center. Reporters from the Washington D.C. area who are unable to attend the briefing can participate through a telecommunications link at NSF's headquarters. It will also be possible to call into the Seattle and Arlington, Va. teleconference locations. Please contact Peter West, NSF media officer, listed below, for details.

For more information about SEARCH, including a list of participating federal agencies, see

For specific information about the open science meeting, see:



James H. Morison, University of Washington
Peter Schlosser, Columbia University
Jonathan T. Overpeck, University of Arizona
Caleb Pungowiyi, Robert Aqqaluk Newlin Sr. Memorial Trust
Jacqueline M. Grebmeier, University of Tennessee
Mark Nuttall, University of Alberta
Matthew Sturm, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory


Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) media briefing


Tuesday, Oct. 28
10:15 a.m. Pacific / 1:15 p.m. Eastern


Bell Harbor International Conference Center
Seattle, Wash.
and Room 350 at the National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington Va.

NOTE: Space in Room 350 is limited; please call ahead to confirm that you will be attending in person.

For more information contact:

Media contact:

 Peter West

 (703) 292-7761

LJ Evans, Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S., (907) 450-1621,
Sandra Hines, University of Washington, (206) 543-2580,


For related images of NSF's North Pole Environmental Observatory, see:


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Researchers and snow mobiles
The Snow Science Traverse-Alaska Region (Snow STAR) team, their snowmobiles, and sleds. The covered sled is heated and houses the computers used in a number of tests done on the snow at each station.

The SnowSTAR team left Nome, Alaska in March of 2002 to conduct a 35-day snowmobile traverse to scour the Alaskan tundra for clues to the role snow cover plays in climate change. The team analyzed the chemistry and composition of snow along the route to determine the source of the snow, and how much it has been affected by arctic haze.
Photo Credit: National Science Foundation
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Researcher sampling snow
Chemical sampling of snow layers. Two classes of samples were taken along the route of the SnowSTAR traverse. Here, ultra-clean procedures are in use because these samples will be analyzed for trace elements and metals.
Photo Credit: National Science Foundation
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View of ice and water from ship's bow
In late July 2002, the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy moved through waters that were relatively free of broken ice during the Western Shelf-Basin Interactions research cruise off Barrow, Alaska.
Photo Credit: Peter West / National Science Foundation
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Sea covered with broken fragments of sea ice
A jumble of ice. In just a few days, ice conditions and extent varied widely as the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy moved northward over its cruise track from Barrow, Alaska during the 2002 Western Shelf-Basin Interactions research cruise. Here the sea is covered with broken fragments of sea ice, which forced researchers must be cautious when placing scientific instruments over the Healy's side.
Photo Credit: Peter West / National Science Foundation
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Researcher prepares samples
Jackie Grebmeier, of the University of Tennessee, the co-chief scientist for the Western Shelf-basins Interactions research cruise carefully prepares samples fresh from the bottom of the Arctic Ocean for transport to the ship's lab.
Photo Credit: Peter West / National Science Foundation
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Crew on deck with poles in the water
Assisted by a member of the Healy's crew, Stephane Plourde, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, fends off ice flows to retrieve the sampling net during the Western Shelf-Basin Interactions research cruise off Barrow, Alaska. Long hours and hard work are elements of any scientific research cruise.
Photo Credit: Peter West / National Science Foundation
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Larger versions (Total Size: 55.7MB) of all images from this document

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