Tracking Ocean Changes in the Arctic Switchyard Archives - State of the Planet

Twin Otter, Arctic Switchyard

Under Arctic Ice: Watch the Video

The video depicts the activities of the LDEO Switchyard field team, which deploys annually and uses ski-equipped aircraft to reach a series of sample sites between the North Pole and Ellesmere Island in Canada.

by |May 24, 2012

Final Days in Alert

Time is flying, bringing us to our final days in Alert. We were able to recover samples from 12 stations, which is a great success and the second most successful year on record. Thanks to everyone who made it happen: Dale, Richard and Dan who went out every possible day to collect samples; Al and… read more

by |May 20, 2012

A Walk against Cancer

Alert hosted the first northernmost cancer-fighting fundraising event “Relay for Life,” an event sponsored by the Canadian Cancer Society to celebrate cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost to cancer and fight back against all cancers. The 12-hour-walk was organized by Kristy Doyle, who lost her grandfather to cancer in 2010. Participants raised a whopping $7,580 and collectively… read more

by |May 19, 2012

A Visit to Crystal Mountain

The weather has improved considerably and we were able to fly out today to collect more samples. Yesterday, some of us went to explore Crystal Mountain, a 900-foot peak about five miles from Alert that offers an excellent view of the surrounding landscape. Alert is a Canadian military station located in the far north region… read more

by |May 12, 2012

Ice cores…finally

Today I got another chance to go out with team CASIMBO to drill ice-cores. The weather was beautiful with no wind, a few clouds, bright sunshine and a balmy temperature of about 5 degrees F. When I first saw sea ice near Alert a few years ago, I was very surprised. It wasn’t anything like… read more

by |May 11, 2012


The weather started to get increasingly worse yesterday, with a lot of clouds, low visibility and snow. That, of course, means that we couldn’t go out flying for two days. The forecast for the next 24 hours doesn’t look promising either. But as usual in the Arctic it’s better not to forecast — everything might change within hours.

by |May 8, 2012

Sampling Water at the North Pole

The 2012 field season started out better than we could hope for. The weather has been great for flying out onto the ice and sampling water from the Arctic ocean. We were able to get water samples from three stations, including one at the North Pole.

by |May 7, 2012

Albany to Alert

On the way from Kangerlussuaq to Thule we fly along the coast of Greenland, over Baffin Bay, where the Arctic starts to show its icy face. For me, Greenland is fascinating for its mild temperatures, diverse wildlife in the south and breathtaking frozen state in the north. I also like the Danish pastries served in the airport cafeteria – it reminds me of home.

by |May 6, 2012

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… read more

by |May 2, 2012

Switchyard Project: A Very Successful Year

The 2011 field season has been a very very successful year, in fact the most successful one we have ever had. The weather has been great, the equipment proved to be mostly reliable, the people have been great and the samples are plenty.

by |May 23, 2011