Project

Recent advances in proteomics, biomarkers and biosensor technology sciences enable new approaches to understanding major biogeochemical processes. This project will examine the physicochemical reactivity of a model protein “RuBisCO” in seawater, and will quantify RuBisCO along ocean transect Line P (48°39.0′ N, 126°40.0′ W to 50°00′ N, 145°00′ W) in the North Pacific Ocean. The project will use two independent methods that complement and validate each other: immune-sensors and multiple-reaction monitoring (MRM) mass spectrometry.Intellectual Merit: Chemical analyses have shown that a significant fraction of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in the ocean is in the form of proteins. Proteins are a…

This new data set is a concerted effort to collect as many observations of sea ice thickness as possible in one place with consistent formats and with clear and abundant documentation. It will allow the community to better utilize what is now a considerable body of observations from moorings, submarines, aircraft, and satellites.

AIDJEX electronic library

ICESat-2 is a satellite mission under development by NASA for launch in 2015.  It will make measurements of ice sheet elevations in Antarctica over a 3-5 year period, to accurately the shape of the ice sheet, and to show how the ice sheet is changing over time.  As the satellite is developed, the science definition team, made up of researchers from NASA and from several different universities, provides direction as to what scientific questions the satellite measurements must address.  APL researcher Ben Smith has joined the team to investigate how best to tailor the measurements to the characteristics of ice…

This investigation’s major goal is to develop and use models constrained by satellite and ground observations to study the controls on fast ice stream flow.

Deeply embayed ice shelves and narrower fringing ice shelves surround much of Antarctica. Recent results indicate that these ice shelves help regulate the flow of upstream glaciers and ice streams (“ice-shelf buttressing”). This investigation focuses on determining the mass balance of Antarctica’s non-Peninsula ice shelves and on improving our knowledge of the processes that control basal melt.

The Arctic Ocean is (currently) a remarkably quiet place, as the presence of sea-ice isolates the ocean from the mixing effects of wind.  In this interdisciplinary project, we examine how the upper Arctic may change if sea-ice retreat increases.  We use observations and models to study Arctic mixed layer depths, internal wave energy, and the mixing of nutrients into the photic zone, with particular interest on  impacts on Arctic ecosystems.

In mid-September Arctic sea ice reaches its minimum extent and volume. There are annual fluctuations — 2012 was a record low for both measures — but reports of a recent ‘rebound’ are short-sighted. Axel Schweiger explains why the downward long-term trend is clear.

The Arctic Sea Ice Volume Anomaly time series is calculated using the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS) developed at APL/PSC.  Updates will be generated at approximately monthly intervals.

This project will produce authoritative SAT data sets covering the Arctic Ocean from 1901 to present, which will be used to better understand Arctic climate change.

Atlantic Waters (AWs) are volumetrically the largest inflow to the Arctic Ocean.  They form the major subsurface circum-arctic oceanic transport system, and are the greatest pan-arctic reservoir of oceanic heat. This project draws on a variety of observational data to study flow pathways,  fundamental properties and change in the Atlantic waters in the western Arctic.

The role and magnitude of feedback processes, such as the ice-albedo feedback cannot be observed. They must be diagnosed from validated models that include the appropriate physics. For example, observational studies, attempting to discern the effect of clouds on sea ice (e.g. Schweiger et al 2008) confront the difficulty of separating cloud variability from other changes, such as atmospheric circulation. Model experiments that can isolate the role of a specific mechanism (e.g. Bitz, 2009) are needed to test and advance our current understanding of feedbacks in the atmosphere-ice-ocean system and to ultimately improve predictive capabilities for weather and climate. The…

The Arctic is currently undergoing rapid and extraordinary large-scale changes related to natural resource development, marine shipping, transportation, infrastructure, and sea ice loss, and as a consequence there will be an imminent and uniform increase in anthropogenic sound. Narwhals are an important representative species for understanding both increasing noise in the Arctic and loss of sea ice, and the joint effects of these impacts on their behavior and ecology.

The Bering Strait is the only Pacific gateway to the Arctic Ocean. Waters flowing through the strait are a key source of nutrients, heat and freshwater for the Arctic. Since 1990, APL-UW has measured the properties of this throughflow using long-term in situ moorings, supported by annual cruises. Project details, data, cruise reports and papers are available on the project web site.

The primary objective of this research is to construct a comprehensive bias-corrected sea ice thickness record and use it to better quantify and understand the dramatic changes that have been observed in the Arctic ice pack. To do this all available Arctic sea ice thickness observations will be integrated, from satellite, aircraft, and subsurface measurements, and used to identify and correct systematic errors through comparisons with a common reference. With the resultant record four science questions will be answered:• What are the systematic differences between different measurement systems for sea ice thickness?• What are the spatial patterns in the trends…

This project devises low-temperature liquid-water environments mimicking the known chemistry of brines. The research team measures microbial growth rate, metabolic activity, ability to survive while inactive, and longevity for psychrophiles to reveal proteomic biosignatures for growth, activity, and survival strategies, and understand key molecular responses of life in these environments.

This is what shows up when the Post Floats into the Outreach Page

The XRFS was built by APL-UW under a NASA contract from the Langley Research Center; it is designed to be deployed down a pre-drilled hole for exploration and elemental analysis of subsurface planetary regolith. 

      Bonnie Light, PSC Chair,bonnie©apl•uw•eduThe Polar Science Center,  40+ Years of Polar ResearchSince its founding following the Arctic Ice Dynamics Experiment (AIDJEX) in 1976, the Polar Science Center has been at the forefront of Polar Research. We conduct Polar Research ranging from tracking microbes living in sea ice, to the massive ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica. Our research takes us into the field to collect data and into the lab where theoretical ideas are tested and samples are analyzed.  We study the Polar Regions from space by satellites  and we simulate the Polar World on computers. We build instruments that…

The Bering Sea – lying at the northern end of the Pacific Ocean and north of the Aleutian Chain – is the source of over 50% of the total US fish catch and the home to immense populations of birds and marine mammals. This project uses a state-of-the-art numerical ocean-ice model to investigate prior (and predict future) changes in the Bering Sea ice cover and study the impacts of these changes on Bering Sea marine and eco-systems.

PI: Jinlun ZhangThis project will investigate future changes in the seasonal linkages and interactions among arctic sea ice, the water column, and the marine production cycles and trophic structure as an integrated system. This is a collaborative project led by Jinlun Zhang with Mike Steele, Univ. of WA, Y. Spitz, Oregon State Univ., C. Ashjian, Woods Hole, and R. Campbell, Univ. of Rhode Island.Read More

This project aims to understand and quantify the effects of sea ice loss on polar bears in East and West Greenland (Baffin Bay).  Longitudinal (cross-time) comparisons of movement behavior and habitat selection will be driven by an analysis of a multi-decadal satellite telemetry dataset on polar bear movements in Baffin Bay and East Greenland, beginning when sea ice concentration and break up date started to decline (1991-1997) and encompassing present day conditions (2007-2013).

This international, multidisciplinary effort will explore the Arctic Ocean’s Eurasian and Makarov basins (EMB) . Three August-September cruises, one every two years, are proposed, with extensive measurements along continental margins, a boundary current conduit; cruises will cover vast areas from Svalbard to the East Siberian Sea. The program ties together oceanographic, chemical, and ice observations using moorings, repeated oceanographic sections, and Lagrangian drifters to provide vital information about Arctic Ocean changes.

The objectives of this research are to quantify the connection between seasonal warming of arctic surface waters and the absorption of solar energy, and additionally to identify the presence and seasonal cycling of materials responsible for this absorption. Seasonal changes in the attenuation of solar radiation within the sea ice and upper 30m of the water column will be measured at high temporal resolution (hourly) by a new proof of concept buoy system. Temperature and PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) irradiance measurements will be made using optical sensors paired with thermisters within the water column and sea ice. A fluorometer will…

This project will compare in situ measurements of ocean bottom pressure and hydrography with GRACE estimates of time-varying ocean bottom pressure. Arctic Bottom Pressure Recorders have been deployed and extensive hydrographic measurements have been made under other projects. Comparisons with some of these measurements suggest that GRACE can provide sorely needed large-scale, continuous information on the changing Arctic Ocean circulation. Our North Pole in situ measurements are particularly useful for GRACE validation because the GRACE footprint passes over the North Pole more frequently than any other ocean location on earth, making comparisons there robust. GRACE appears to provide our first…

We are using field and remote sensing data to investigate Elevation Change Anomalies (ECAs) discovered recently in the Ross Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), which reveal the filling and draining of subglacial lakes.

Seasonal Anomaly Maps — each product compred to the ensemble medianSeasonal Trend Maps — seasonal trends of each variableThis work has been published in the Journal of Climate (Lindsay, R., M. Wensnahan, A. Schweiger, and J. Zhang, 2014: Evaluation of seven different atmospheric reanalysis products in the Arctic. J. Climate, DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00014.1. )AbstractAtmospheric reanalyses depend on a mix of observations and model forecasts. In data-sparse regions such as the Arctic, the reanalysis solution is more dependent on the model structure, assumptions, and data assimilation methods than in data-rich regions. Applications such as the forcing of ice-ocean models are sensitive to…

This project has two main objectives: 1) determination of the physical and microbial characteristics and microstructural evolution of sea ice exposed to severe melt; and 2) exploration of the influence of biogenic particles such as sea ice algae, bacteria and polymer gels on the melting behavior of sea ice.

PI: Dr. Elizabeth HolmesCo-Investigator for APL: Jinlun ZhangThe effects of climate change are projected to be disproportionately pronounced in polar regions, where changes in the extent of Arctic sea ice will have an effect on all trophic levels. The endangered bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) is one of the largest animals in the Arctic, yet they feed on some of the smallest Arctic animals, zooplankton. Therefore, physically-induced bottom-up changes may be quickly reflected in the distribution of bowhead whales. Some of the important threats to bowhead whales include shipping and offshore oil drilling. Loss of sea ice in the Arctic has…

The extent of arctic sea ice during the summer has declined to near-record minima during the last several summers. Can we predict future minima? Our weekly to seasonal forecasts provided by the National/Naval Ice Center help residents and navigators in the Arctic make better decisions regarding sea ice.

The Quaternary Research Center (QRC) and the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA, are seeking Postdoctoral Research Associates with interests in the polar regions.

Numerous recent studies have revealed rapid change in ice discharge from Greenland’s outlet glaciers. A near doubling in flow speed of many of Greenland’s glaciers substantially increased the rate at which the ice sheet calved icebergs to the ocean over the last five years.

This project characterizes the Greenland Ice Sheet’s subglacial microbial communities to investigate the effect of microbes on lithospheric weathering and nutrient fluxes from the GrIS margin in West Greenland.

Our overarching goals are to study and understand the physical processes in the high latitude oceans, including large-scale circulation, shelf-basin interactions, and water mass formation; linkages between polar oceans and the lower latitudes; and the role of polar processes in climate. We do this primarily with observations, drawing on theory and modelling results to explain processes we observe. Our primary tools are subsurface moorings in ice-covered waters, which we deploy in several regions to study different questions.

IceBridge is a NASA project that supports the acquisition of various data from aircraft in both polar regions that will bridge the gap in coverage between the now defunct ICESat satellite and the next generation ICESat II to be launched in 2015 at the earliest. The main focuses of the data acquisition will be laser altimetry and radar measurements of ice sheets (Greenland and Antarctica) and sea ice (Arctic and Antarctica).

This project is to examine over 30 years of landfast ice records, cyclone tracks and intensity along with frequency and timing of coastal high wind conditions, nearshore pack ice drift, and coastal weather observations in two representative arctic coastal regions.

In recent years the ice extent in the Arctic has been much reduced from that of historical norms and the ice-albedo feedback is often cited as a major factor in causing this accelerated summer ice retreat. An important countervailing feedback is the ice thickness-growth feedback wherein thin ice grows much more quickly in the winter than thick ice. The strength of this negative feedback mechanism depends on the rate heat is lost from the surface to the atmosphere.  The primary objectives of this project are to better understand how rapidly the extra summer heat absorbed in the Arctic Ocean in…

The objective of this project is to investigate impacts of Arctic sea ice reduction on bromine, ozone, and mercury chemical processes, transport, and distribution from sea ice surfaces on the Arctic Ocean, and atmospheric transport of these chemicals to high mountains on land.

Observations of surface air pressure (SAP) and surface air temperature (SAT) provide the foundation of our ability to forecast weather and ice conditions, and our ability to understand the earth’s climate and climate change. These basic variables are monitored through out the globe by weather stations on land, moored buoys along the coast, and drifting buoys in most of the world’s oceans. However, the Southern Ocean and sea ice around Antarctica continue to be one of the least sampled areas of the planet. This lack of observations around Antarctica hinders our ability to accurately predict weather (Bromwich and Cassano, 2001),…

The participants of the IABP work together to maintain a network of drifting buoys in the Arctic Ocean to provide meteorological and oceanographic data for real-time operational requirements and research purposes including support to the World Climate Research Programme and the World Weather Watch Programme.

PI: Ian Joughin The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is losing mass, in large part because of rapid thinning of the Amundsen Coast glaciers. Estimates of Amundsen Coast thinning range from 46 to 86 Gtons/yr, with the 40-Gton/yr difference in estimates being nearly equivalent to the combined outflow of Mercer, Whillans, Kamb, and Bindschadler ice streams (46 Gtons/yr). While warmer ocean temperatures may drive this thinning, the large uncertainties in the current mass balance estimates largely arise from poor knowledge of the snowfall accumulation over Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith, Pope and Kohler glaciers. This International Polar Year project is determining accumulation rates in this vastly under-sampled region to remove the large uncertainties in current mass balance estimates.

Recent years have seen extreme changes in the Arctic sea ice cover and adjacent open ocean – reduced ice extent, record sea surface temperatures, thinner and younger ice, and loss of ice in areas that had been ice-covered throughout human memory.Particularly striking are changes within marginal ice zones (MIZ) – areas that are becoming increasingly covered by low concentration, diffuse sea ice.The proposed work, referred to here as the “Marginal Ice Zone Ocean and Ice Observations and Processes Experiment (MIZOPEX)”, brings to bear the capabilities of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in concert with in-situ observations and satellite remote sensing to…

PI: Karen Junge
Ice is ubiquitous in the Universe. If we better understand how microbial life adapts to Earth ice matrices, we will be in a better position to evaluate and plan tests of the habitability of frozen systems elsewhere in the Universe.

Life as we know it requires liquid water. However Dr. Junge and her collaborators found evidence of ice bacterial protein synthesis to liquid nitrogen temperature (–196°C) when bacterial polymers were present and samples were (likely) vitrified during her postdoc (with Jody Deming and Hajo Eicken) and continuing on with Brian Swanson (New Scientist article).Currently, she is exploring the relationship between this deep-freeze bacterial activity, proteomics, polymers and the physical state of the ice in collaboration with Brook Nunn from the Goodlet laboratory here at the University of Washington and Hajo Eicken at UAF. This collaboration puts them in a unique…

Students from the Art Institute of Seattle joined APL-UW polar scientists in Barrow, Alaska, to document experiments on the land-fast ice. AIS created a video, The Life of Sea Ice, for APL-UW educational outreach.

Light, B., S. Dickinson, D. K. Perovich, and M. M. Holland (2015), Evolution of summer Arctic sea ice albedo in CCSM4 simulations: Episodic summer snowfall and frozen summers, J. Geophys. Res., 120, 284–303, doi:10.1002/2014JC010149

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