Bogged Down in Alaska

For thousands of years Arctic peat bogs have soaked up atmospheric carbon like a giant sponge. But as the poles warm, the arctic bogs will decay and expel billions of tons of carbon back into the air—or will they? A warmer climate might actually improve growing conditions in the bogs, allowing them to take up more greenhouse gases than before. To look for an answer, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) research professor Jonathan Nichols and Walt Whitman High School science teacher John Karavias traveled to Alaska’s remote North Slope in July 2012.

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Hot Tides, Tough Corals

Coral reefs, home to at least 25 percent of marine species, rely on a fragile balance of conditions for life. But those conditions are changing. Tropical oceans have warmed 0.5 degrees Celsius over the past century, resulting in widespread coral bleaching and outbreaks of coral diseases. But there is some good news.

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R.I.P. Lake Ponting: A Supraglacial Lake Disappears in Greenland

Approximately 80 percent of the surface of Greenland is covered by the Greenland Ice Sheet, the world’s second largest body of ice after the Antarctic Ice Sheet. In June 2011, Dr. Marco Tedesco of the Department of Earth & Atmospheric Science, City College of New York (CCNY), led a team of scientists to Greenland to study surface features of the ice sheet and to collect data on solar energy being absorbed by the snow and ice.

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Floating on Top of the World: The International Geophysical Year and Drifting Station Alpha

The International Geophysical Year (IGY) was a coordinated series of global scientific activities spanning the period July 1957 – December 1958. Sixty-seven countries participated in observations of various geophysical phenomena. The United States alone formed panels to study cosmic rays, aurora and airglow, solar activity, geomagnetism, glaciology, gravity, ionospheric physics, longitude and latitude determination, meteorology, oceanography, rocketry, and seismology.

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In Conversation: John M. Wallace and Norbert Untersteiner

Norbert Untersteiner was a pioneer in polar geophysics. He founded the modern thermodynamic theory of sea ice, and much of our understanding of the role of the Arctic in global climate change can be traced to him.

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Ocean Babies on Acid

What happens to the delicate larvae of ocean creatures when they’re exposed to increasing acid levels in the ocean? That’s the question marine biologists Steve Palumbi of Stanford and Eric Sanford of UC Davis are trying to answer through experiments with sea urchin larvae off the California and Oregon coasts.

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Roger Revelle in 1980

In 1980, Roger Revelle, then the director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was invited to give a talk titled “The Role of the Oceans in Earth’s Climate and Carbon Budget” at Lawrence Livermore National Labs. The talk is fascinating for several reasons. From an historical perspective, Revelle gives a great overview of how much we knew—and didn’t know—about climate science in 1980. He goes into depth on the state of the science, the uncertainties, and the next questions that needed to be answered.

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The Story of a Flying HIPPO: The HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observation Project

Since 2009, the HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observation (HIPPO) project has conducted a series of global flights to measure atmospheric constituents. The data collected on these flights will be vital for informing policy related to climate and climate change. On HIPPO’s missions from August 9 to September 9, 2011, ClimateScience.tv provided the scientists and crew with a video camera to document their experiences. The HIPPO team returned with some stunning aerial footage, from the lush jungles of Hawaii to the icy floes of the Arctic Ocean. We took their dramatic images, combined them with post-flight interviews, and created this four-minute film documenting HIPPO’s month-long voyage around the globe. To learn more about HIPPO, visit: HIPPO’s website HIPPO’s YouTube channel

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Up From the Briny Deep: Collecting Deep-Sea Sediment Cores

Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is home to the world’s largest collection of deep-sea sediment cores. These cores—and the microfossils contained in them—allow scientists to look back on thousands of years of climate conditions from all over the world. In this short film, Peter deMenocal, the chair of Columbia’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, describes new techniques for retrieving sediment cores from the depths of the ocean and how they help us understand global climate change.

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Operation Deep Freeze: Early Ice Core Drilling

From 1955 to 1996, the Navy managed all U.S. scientific research in Antarctica. ClimateScience.tv uncovered this 1959 footage of the Navy’s “Operation Deep Freeze.” It’s a fascinating record of early ice core drilling techniques—with a couple of seismic blasts thrown in for good measure.

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