Archive for the «News» Category

The Seattle Times reviewed the Imaging the Arctic exhibit at the Nordic Heritage Museum organized by Kristin Laidre and Maria Coryell-Martin.

Arctic sea ice likely reached its 2018 lowest extent on September 19 and again on September 23, according to NASA and the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder. Analysis of satellite data by NSIDC and NASA showed that, at 1.77 million square miles (4.59 million square kilometers), 2018 effectively tied with 2008 and 2010 for the sixth lowest summertime minimum extent in the satellite record.

The 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting (OSM), co-sponsored by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), and The Oceanography Society (TOS), will be held 11–16 February, in Portland, Oregon. Some of the members of PSC will join their colleagues from the University of Washington and other institutions to present and discuss their latest marine science research endeavors.

An article written by T. Moon, I. Joughin, B. Smith and I. Howat from Science/AAAS journal.

APL-UW has produced a video with Harry Stern and his research of the Arctic ice edge that incorporated logs and maps of Captain James Cook’s polar expedition among other early explorers.

Popular Science reported on Harry Stern’s research paper which analyzed observations recorded by the earliest explorers of the Northwest Passage in correlation to the current trend in sea ice.

The International Journal of Remote Sensing has published a study by Ben Hudson and his UC colleagues which assessed turbid water detection and cloud mask performance of NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) MOD35_L2 cloud mask.

UW News talks to PSC’s Laura Kehrl about a recently published study identifying a locale in #Antarctica that may provide a continuous ice core record of the last 1 million yrs. The research team, which included members from UW and UMaine, used ice‐penetrating radar and an ice flow model to map the promising region. Kehrl is the corresponding author for the study published in AGU’s Geophysical Research Letters. Read on to learn how the team conducted their fieldwork…

PIOMAS Arctic Sea Ice Volume and excerpts from an interview with Axel Schweiger are covered in Science News. Click to  read full story

April 30, 2020 –  PSC researcher Ben Smith’s paper ‘Pervasive ice sheet mass loss reflects competing ocean and atmosphere processes’  discussed in the New York Times.

New data from space is providing the most precise picture yet of Antarctica’s ice, where it is accumulating most quickly and disappearing at the fastest rate, and how the changes could contribute to rising sea levels.

PSC members join their colleagues and peers at the AGU 2015 Fall Meeting in San Francisco, California.

PSC members join their colleagues and peers at the AGU 2016 Fall Meeting in San Francisco, California.


PSC members join their colleagues and peers at the AGU 2017 Fall Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.

PSC members join their colleagues and peers at the AGU Fall Meeting 2018 in Washington DC. 

Trending:  The article, Loitering of the retreating sea ice edge in the Arctic Seas, in JGR Oceans, is one of the most accessed in the past 3 months. Congrats to the authors; PSC’s Mike Steele and Wendy Ermold!

April 1, 2019 – TODAY Show host, Al Roker, traveled to Utqiagvik, Alaska to report on climate change. Al talks with PSC’s Ignatius Rigor about his research and the technology being used to gather data.

Alert in the Arctic: The Navy’s New Frontier. Features SIZRS, Jamie Morison, Sarah Dewey


UW Today highlights the latest article, by PSC’s Harry Stern and Kristin Laidre, published in The Cryosphere. Other media sources reporting the study are The Seattle TimesScience DailyThe Washington PostMashable, and

NASA climate scientists report that Antarctica has gained ice in the form of snow accumulation. This study was recently published in the Journal of Glaciology and reporters have sought comments from their peers at the Polar Science Center.

Results of a recent long-term and large-scale simulation of the collapse of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) show that the destabilization of the entire ice sheet would be irreversible if current conditions don’t change by 2075.

Science Daily reports on a study recently published in Geophysical Research Letters where satellite measurements assessed glacier flow in the Antarctic Peninsula. PSC’s Ian Joughin was part of an international team of researchers, led by the UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at the University of Leeds, and is one of the co-authors.

Kristin Laidre presented the fourth seminar in the APL-UW 75th Anniversary series, “The Polar Science Center From Ice Dynamics to Polar Bears.” 

The University of Washington is launching a new initiative to boost research in polar regions and prepare students for a world where melting ice is opening new opportunities — and posing new threats. Read the Seattle Times article to learn more about this new program.

The Polar Science Center’s Harry Stern contributed the essay called Sea Ice in the Western Portal of the Northwest Passage from 1778 to the Twenty-First Century in this new book by the University of Washington Press.

A new article published in Conservation Biology and featured in Science by lead author Kristin Laidre is the first to provide a comprehensive look at the current status of all Arctic marine mammal species and offer conservation recommendations.

An Arctic research expedition faces a carefully orchestrated crew change. Members reflect on how they feel about emerging from the ship into a pandemic, or from social isolation into close quarters.

Sea ice in the Arctic appears to have hit its annual maximum extent after growing through the fall and winter. The 2019 wintertime extent reached on March 13 ties with 2007’s as the 7th smallest extent of winter sea ice in the satellite record, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA.

Eurasia Review reports on the results of the lengthy study of beluga whale migration led by PSC and published in the journal Global Change Biology. The news post includes previous comments by some of the authors, Donna Hauser and Kate Stafford.

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 University of Washington news produced a video with the Polar Science Center highlighting a six-year study of Beluga whale populations. Donna HauserKristin Laidre, and Harry Stern participated from PSC.

The Arctic Ocean is gaining open water each summer, with some scientists predicting that the warming planet will see an Arctic Ocean that’s completely ice-free in late summer by around the middle of this century.

The region, which could provide a last refuge for polar bears and other Arctic wildlife that depends on ice, is not as stable as previously thought, according to a new study.

The BBC article Climate tech fixes urged for Arctic methane incorrectly identifies the University of Washington as the source for a prediction of the disappearance of sea ice in the Arctic in the next few years.

Analysis from the University of Washington, in Seattle, using ice thickness data from submarines and satellites, suggests that Septembers could be ice-free within just a few years.”

This is factually incorrect. The graph apparently comes from an unidentified online  blog posting which uses some of our data to conduct its analysis. This analysis extrapolates PIOMAS ice volume data to arrive at a date when sea ice might first disappear. This extrapolation represents the analysis and judgement of the unidentified poster of the graph. The University of Washington was not involved in this analysis. We have informed the BBC and asked for a correction.

Update: The BBC has corrected the news piece to reflect the distinction between the use of PIOMAS data and the extrapolation performed elsewhere.

Europe’s Cryosat mission is now watching the ebb and flow of Arctic sea ice with high precision….Tuesday’s release shows a complete seasonal cycle, from October 2010, when the Arctic Ocean was beginning to freeze up following the summer melt, right through to March 2011, when the sea ice was approaching peak thickness. Cryosat found the volume (area multiplied by thickness) of sea ice in the central Arctic in March 2011 to have been 14,500 cubic kilometres. This figure is very similar to that suggested by PIOMAS (Panarctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System), an influential computer model that has been used to estimate Arctic sea ice volume

PSC’s Kristin Laidre lends her expertise to a CBC News story of a juvenile narwhal adopted by a pod of Beluga whales in the St. Lawrence River.

Donna Hauser participated in the analysis of beluga whales in the western Beaufort Sea. Temporally and spatially diverse data sets which included aerial survey, passive acoustic, and satellite tracking data were synthesized to gain baseline information and a more holistic understanding of beluga distribution. Read about the project published in Deep Sea Research.

The news source International Business Times, out of the UK, reports on findings recently published in Global Change Biology of a decades-long research study involving Beluga whales. Donna HauserKristin Laidre, Harry Stern and colleagues examined changes in autumn migration timing of Beluga whale populations since the 1990s.

Bering Strait is the only pathway between the Pacific and  Arctic oceans. For 15 years now, APL-UW researchers and  their multi-institutional colleagues have measured the  properties of the flow through the strait with a series  moorings that are recovered and re-deployed each summer. Follow their July 2015  CRUISE BLOG 

May 8, 2020 – Maddie Smith is ready to drift through life for a little while. But it’s not because she’s lost focus. In fact, the postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory is embarking on the trip of a lifetime for any scientist interested in better understanding global warming.

Congratulations to Cecilia, who was chosen to participate in the U.S. Fulbright Scholar program. She will spend 9 months in Norway (from mid-August 2017 to mid-May 2018) doing oceanographic research at the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) in Tromsø, and at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) in Longyearbyen. 

September 17, 2019 – Research by Axel Schweiger and Jinlun Zhang in Collaboration with Kevin Wood from JISAO reconstructs sea ice volume and thickness since 1901. 

Third Pod from the Sun, the American Geophysical Union’s podcast, kicks off the month of March with PSC’s Kristin Laidre.

A new study finds that an area of the Arctic Ocean critical for the survival of polar bears is fast becoming vulnerable to climate change.

The region, dubbed the “last ice area” had been expected to stay frozen far longer than other parts of the Arctic.

But this new analysis says that this area suffered record melting last summer.

The researchers say that high winds allied to a changing climate were behind the unexpected decline.


News station KING 5 interviews PSC’s Jamie Morison, as environmental policies change under the new administration resulting in strong, public response. Watch the clip of the PSC oceanographer discussing his own research observations, Arctic data available from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), and the need to continue polar research. 

Congratulations to PSC’s Sarah Dewey for passing her PhD Defense! She presented her research earlier this month with her talk, Evolving Ice-Ocean Dynamics of the Western Arctic. 

The publication Conservation Biology announced its awards for 2016 and PSC’s Kristin Laidre is the lead author of the paper that earned the second highest altmetric score, Arctic Marine Mammal Population Status, Sea Ice Habitat Loss, and Conservation Recommendations for the 21st Century.
Laidre led the collaborative effort which involved PSC colleagues Harry Stern and Eric Regehr (at present), along with other researchers from Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia and other US institutions. Congratulations to Kristin and the team!

PSC’s Daniel Shapero is participating in the Applied Physics Laboratory Seminar Series — Fall 2016. On Thursday, October 6, 2:30 PM in 512 Benjamin Hall, UW, Daniel will give a talk describing some of his work in the field of inverse or data assimilation, both in the methodology and the application to major outlet glaciers in Greenland.

The Arctic Data Center, supported by NSF, has highlighted Karen Junge’s work investigating rotten ice. Data has been collected on both the physical and biological properties of rotten ice and is available from the center.  

Global warming not so global? PSC postdoc Aaron Donohoe has co-authored a study recently published in Nature Geoscience showing how and why the Antarctic Ocean has not warmed in comparison to what has been observed in the Arctic.