19 oktober 2011

Attention Teachers!

  • Are you looking for an opportunity to connect your students with current scientific discoveries?
  • Do you want to have researchers visit your classroom and share how exciting a science career can be?
  • Or maybe you are looking for some activities to celebrate the Nansen-Amundsen year?
…then come with us to Antarctica!

Antarctica is the 5th largest continent in the world, about 1.5 times larger than Australia, and 36 times larger than Norway. 98% of Antarctica is covered by a large ice sheet that can be more than 3000 m thick. This ice represents almost 70% of all the freshwater on Earth. Glaciers at the end of the ice sheet flow like slow rivers toward the coast. The ends of the glacier in the ocean are large swimming thick ice pieces, called an ice shelves. They push against the flowing glacier ice and act as corks stopping more of the glacier from flowing into the sea. The more ice that flows from the Continent into the ocean, the higher Earth’s sea level will be, effecting all the people that live online the coast.

Glaciers, which can be thought of as streams of ice (shown in yellow and green) flow down toward the coast of Antarctica. Ice shelves (shown in red) act as corks holding back the glaciers from flowing into the sea – which would dramatically increase sea level and eventually impact all the people living near the coast around the world.

Satellite image of our research area. Glacier ice flows out to the ocean. Ice rises are bumps on the surface of the ice shelf and visible from satellites.

Scientists at the Norwegian Polar Institute and a number of domestic and international partners have started a new project to investigate how ‘small’ bumps on the surface of the ice shelf ‘cork’, called ice rises, affect how fast the ice shelf breaks up.

Scientists working on this project want to share their experience on the coldest, windiest, highest and driest continent on earth with you and your students. By coming in to your classroom before, during (virtually), and after their exciting expedition to the frozen wilderness, they will share how climate change is impacting Antarctica and how that relates to everyone on Earth and demonstrate how important and exciting a science career can be. School visits before or after the expedition may be made with video conference depending on the location of the school.

During the course of the 3-year project, the scientists will visit your classroom before and after the expeditions, developing a personal connection with you and your students. They will use free and simple online tools, such as blogs and skype, to share their experience ‘From the Ice’ and involve you in current research at the bottom of the Earth. Students will be able to ask them questions at anytime (in Norwegian or English). The team and their colleagues from around the world will answer these questions, report daily weather conditions, and post photos and video clips of their exciting new discoveries.

This year the field team will leave our Arctic home just after December 14th, the day that Amundsen arrived at the South Pole 100 years ago, to work on the frozen continent. They will be able to come to your classroom before they leave, connect with you ‘From the Ice’ and visit after their return in early February.

If you are interested in joining this exciting adventure and connecting your students with ‘cool’ scientists working at the bottom of the world – contact us today!

- Kenny Matsuoka, matsuoka@npolar.no, www.kennymatsuoka.org, Norwegian Polar Institute. Principal Investigator of project “Evolution of ice rises during the late Holocene and implications for mass balance in the Antarctic coastal area” funded by Norwegian Antarctic Research Expedition.
- Jenny Baseman, jbaseman@gmail.com, http://apecs.is/leadership/international-directorate, Executive Director of Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), University of Tromsø.

This outreach project is jointly organized by Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) and Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS).

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