Welcome to the ICESCAPE Blog!


From:  Haley Smith Kingsland, Stanford University Earth systems master’s student specializing in environmental communication




ICESCAPE is a multi-year project sponsored by NASA to determine the impact of climate change upon the health of the Arctic Ocean. Many of you are probably familiar with the story of the polar bears’ loss of habitat due to earlier, longer melt seasons and declining sea ice. But decreasing sea ice is expected to affect more than charismatic marine mammals. How will tiny organisms such as sea ice algae respond to the changing Arctic climate? How will global warming impact the Arctic’s food web dynamics and carbon cycle? How will new atmospheric interactions between molecules, aerosols, and clouds affect chlorophyll concentration?


ICESCAPE’s interdisciplinary research approach integrates satellite remote sensing, numerical ecosystem modeling, and NASA’s first dedicated oceanographic research cruise. ICESCAPE’s two field campaigns will occur during spring/summer 2010 and summer/fall 2011.


On June 15, the USCGC Healy (photo above) will depart Dutch Harbor, Alaska, for its passage north through the Bering Strait to the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Along the way, forty-three members of the science team will sample 50-100 stations and even disembark for extended periods to work on the sea ice. They’ll study everything from the Arctic Ocean’s optical properties to phytoplankton physiology.


The 420-foot-long icebreaker Healy can plow through 4.5 feet of sea ice continuously. Manned by an 85-person Coast Guard crew, the ship is equipped with six science labs, a polar library, and two HH-65 helicopter hangars. At the end of the first expedition on July 21, the Healy will steam back into port in Seward, Alaska. Coupled with satellite data and numerical models, the Healy’s field observations will allow scientists to make connections between the atmosphere, ocean, and sea ice in order to broaden our understanding of Arctic Ocean ecosystems.


According to ICESCAPE’s chief scientist Kevin Arrigo, “NASA has assembled an excellent team of researchers for ICESCAPE and I am very excited to be part of this unique opportunity to learn more about the changes taking place in this fascinating but vastly understudied environment.”


On this blog we’ll post regular updates from the science teams, and you’ll hear from a wide range of people involved in ICESCAPE. We hope you’ll enjoy the voyage with us!


Learn more at both the ICESCAPE and Healy websites.


(Photo credit: U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Patrick Kelley)


12 thoughts on “Welcome to the ICESCAPE Blog!”

  1. Awesome!! my pre-teen boys love to see this kinda stuff on tv. Hope to watch some of the activities as you report. What a great scientific adventure!!

  2. hello !!!
    July 15 is my birthday & I <3 science !!! I'll follow the blog !!!
    nice trip;

  3. I always associates ice zone with the sensation of loneliness, not abandone, just peace, the state of glaciar, the state!

    For me Artic was a piece, a total piece until we put a foot on it.

    The boats the ships break the silence, the Polar sea is Polar.

    I believe Polar doesn’t like boats, likes homo sapiens sapiens.

    Oxygen is communication???

  4. Is there a way to sign up for notification emails as blog entries are posted?

  5. ICESCAPE — You can sign up for the RSS feed on the blog to be notified when we post new entries.

  6. Aloha, and good luck. It is a very exciting endeavor that you are on. I will enjoy following your journey. The USCGC Healy looks like a fine ship. Sincerely, Kirk

  7. Is a research plan or proposal available for public review? If so, can someone tell me where I might find it? It would be interesting to see what experiments are being planned and be able to follow the progress to help understand what is going on in the Arctic.

  8. I will definitely follow this blog as I would love to see how the reports are being developed. There is so much happening up in the Arctic!

  9. The research you are doing could not be more important!!

    The rate of methane and other gases etc. coming up is critical to know.

    I have a hard time getting people in Iowa to grasp the reality of what is going on. Could you make me a friend on Facebook and post a message to my friends and myself? That would be great if you would. Then post your link so we can follow what you are doing and direct people to your blog.

  10. I just say don’t worry, if melts the Artic, more water. And pure???

    You don’t have to go to the moon or to Titan, because we have enough.

    It is supposed that of course this water is cold enough to preserve the temperature.

    But as the sun is not like before. No problem.

    There is balance still.

    The problem is not only the sun, it is the problem with people who emits an exageration. It is not scientific to pronouce aloud this problem, not for the reason of the lack of information.

    It’s due to the cause of misunderstood. Because it could happen other supernova or big bang, and we preocupated by this symptomatic absurd thing.

    I understand!

    The important thing is balance between people, why? Because it is the consequence, where? quantically!!!!

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