The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, America’s only working arctic icebreaker, is about to finish a more than month-long research expedition off Alaska’s coast.
Onboard are a team of scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, The University of Rhode Island, The University of Alaska – Fairbanks; and Chantelle Rose, a high school science teacher from Ohio.
Rose is taking part in a project called PolarTREC, which puts teachers right in the middle of some of the world’s most far-reaching polar research.
“It’s been absolutely amazing the way the sun looks low on the horizon,” she said via satellite phone, Tuesday.
The expedition, which is set to end this weekend in Dutch Harbor, took the team north of Barrow, where scientists observed birds, monitored sea ice, and took fish and water samples.
It’s a unique mission said Dr. Carin Ashjian, Chief Scientist, at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, “especially the Chukchi and Beaufort, I don't know if anyone has ever been able to go up to see these areas before in the winter time.”
Ashjian said they're seeing a lot of new sea ice, a sign that wide swaths of the arctic melted this past summer -- more so than in past years.
“That’s going to be much thinner and much less robust than the multi-year sea ice and, we did see that,” she said.
Each day, Rose writes a blog post, to share the initial findings with students back home. She also uses a satellite phone to teach lessons and interact with students.
“It’s all a really enriching experience because we have nothing like that in Ohio,” said Rose.
PolarTREC blog and photos: http://www.polartrec.com/expeditions/winter-sampling