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So Much Depends on Sea Ice

An iceberg drifts through open waters. Credit: Frank Nitsche.
An iceberg drifts through open waters. Credit: Frank Nitsche.

Where we work and how we get there depends on the sea ice. The Oden is a powerful icebreaker but it is often faster and more fuel-efficient to go around heavy sea ice then to chop our way through. If the sea ice is several feet thick, we often choose to detour. We actually consult a daily sea-ice map to chart our route each day.

Summer is winding down in Antarctica and the sea ice has been melting for months. Our expedition to the Amundsen Sea was planned for a time when the sea ice could be expected to be at its lowest extent, making more areas accessible. In a few weeks the ocean will start freezing and in a few months thick ice will blanket the region once again.

Our jagged track reflects frequent sea-ice detours.
Our jagged track reflects frequent sea-ice detours.
Science for the Planet: In these short video explainers, discover how scientists and scholars across the Columbia Climate School are working to understand the effects of climate change and help solve the crisis.
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