Field Notes: The Polar Field Services Newsletter

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Why is this Woman Smiling?

Grad student Heidi Roop (U Northern Arizona) in the port of Darrell Kaufman's lake sediment coring rig. Photo from Darrell Kaufman's 2007 gallery

Grad student Heidi Roop (Northern Arizona) in the port of Darrell Kaufman's lake sediment coring rig. Photo from Kaufman's 2007 gallery

Congratulations to the team of scientists led by Darrell Kaufman (Northern Arizona University) on their recent article in the journal Science.  The piece (available to subscribers and summarized here) reports that a 2000-year-long cooling trend in the Arctic had been reversed in the 20th century, with four of the five warmest decades in 2000 years occurring between 1950 and 2000. The news made headlines in major publications and blogs.  The project was funded by the National Science Foundation, and CPS has happily supported Kaufman team visits to lakes around  Alaska for lake sediment cores, proxy for paleoclimate information, for years.

This is why you should do your science homework: a Kaufman research camp at Upper Togiak Lake, Alaska, in 2007. Photo from Kaufman gallery

This is why you should do your science homework: a Kaufman research camp at Upper Togiak Lake, Alaska, in 2007. Photo from Kaufman gallery

NOAA announced plans to sample air in Alaska to determine the natural sources of methane and carbon dioxide—the two most important heat-trapping gases—using a Coast Guard C-130 aircraft. The effort aims to identify the concentrations and sources of major green house gas emissions and make plans for reducing them to stave off global warming.

Warming temperatures are causing rapid ice melting in the Arctic. Photo courtesy noaa.gov, which issues an annual Arctic limate report card.

Warming temperatures are causing rapid ice melting in the Arctic. Photo courtesy noaa.gov, which issues an annual Arctic climate report card.

“Them killer whales, first time people seen them here in the harbor,” says Eddie Gruben, 89, of tiny Tuktoyaktuk, NW Territories, Canada. Read about the challenges facing “Tuk” and myriad other polar communities facing a warming Arctic in this Los Angeles Times article.

Global warming may have adverse effects on Arctic plants. Photo courtesy British Broadcasting Corporation.

Climate warming may have adverse effects on Arctic plants. Photo courtesy British Broadcasting Corporation.

Watch Alaska’s mighty Mendenhall Glacier retreat over the better part of a year, thanks to time-lapse photography by the Extreme Ice Survey folks:

EIS_350 from Extreme Ice Survey on Vimeo.