State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

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Switchyard 2012: Climate Change in the Arctic

Arctic summer sea ice is declining rapidly: a trend with enormous implications for global weather and climate. Now in its eighth year, the multi-year Arctic Switchyard project is tracking the Arctic seascape to distinguish the effects of natural climate variability from human-induced climate change. The University of Washington is leading the project.

A) The Canadian Forces Station, Alert

We will fly from the Canadian military base at Alert, Ellesmere Island, land on the ice by ski plane to drill holes, deploy instruments and retrieve water samples. We will measure water temperature, salt content and levels of dissolved oxygen, and a wide variety of natural and man-made substances. Our goal is to understand how much fresh water is entering the system, where it is coming from (sea ice melt, river run-off and so on) and where it exits the arctic, altering currents in the North Atlantic Ocean.

During the next few weeks we will blog from the field; Follow our work on the Arctic Switchyard project page.

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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