Arctic Field Experiments

The Arctic Ice Dynamics Joint Experiment (AIDJEX) — 1975-1976
The AIDJEX program was the first major western sea ice experiment constructed specifically to answer emerging questions about how sea ice moves and changes in response to the influence of ocean and atmosphere. A pilot study in 1972 was followed by the AIDJEX field program in 1975 and 1976.

The full set of AIDJEX Bulletins have been converted to PDF files at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA under the direction of Ron Kwok and with financial support from NASA.

FRAM III Expedition — 1981-1982
FRAM 3 was the third in a series of four U.S. manned ice camps established in the eastern Arctic Ocean for oceanographic and geophysical research in the Eurasian Basin north of the Greenland-Spitzbergen Passage.  Investigators from several institutions in the United States, as well as from Canada and England, participated in studies of physical and chemical oceanography, low-frequency underwater acoustics, geophysics, and the mechanics and propagation of waves through sea ice.  Jamie Morison led the Polar Science Center efforts, which included current velocity-CTD profiling, deployment and testing of oceanographic buoys developed at the Center, and meteorology studies.

SCICEX-93: Arctic Cruise of the U.S. Navy Nuclear Powered Submarine USS Pargo

Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) — Sept. 1997 – Oct. 1998
Ice Station SHEBA was the largest and most complex project ever funded by the National Science Foundation in the Arctic. SHEBA focused on enhancing understanding of the key processes that determine ice albedo feedback in the arctic pack ice and on applying this knowledge to improve climate modeling. Dr. Richard Mortiz, PSC Prinicipal Oceanographer, served as the Project Director.

North Pole Environmental Observatory (NPEO) — 2000 – present
Beginning in spring 2000, an international research team supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) has conducted annual expeditions each April to the North Pole to take the pulse of the Arctic Ocean and learn how the world’s northernmost sea helps regulate global climate. The team establishes a group of un-manned scientific platforms, collectively called an observatory, to record data throughout the remainder of the year on everything from the salinity of the water to the thickness and temperature of the ice cover.


The Polar Science Center is a group of dedicated investigators conducting interdisciplinary research on the oceanography, climatology, meteorology, biology and ecology of the ice-covered regions on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system. Learn more »