2007 - 2008
This past research season, POLAR-PALOOZA had 4 video teams in the Antarctic, covering researchers studying biology, glaciers, ice shelves, past climate, future sea level rise, and - with Long Duration Balloons - Earth's atmosphere and space far beyond our planet. With more than 250 hours of new footage, here are recent podcasts from Antarctica.
"From Louisiana to Antarctica - Part 1 Students On Board" Set sail with LSU geology professor Phil Bart and a team of students - both undergrads and graduates - on board the Nathaniel B. Palmer. See what they saw as they left McMurdo Station, and set off for the Ross Sea, to study evidence left by ancient ice sheets which may help predict the rate and extent of future sea level rise.
"From Louisiana to Antarctica - Part 2 Core Curriculum" In temperatures far below zero, with ice needing to be chipped off their instruments, the team set to work. Bart and Co-PI, Jonathan Tomkins, describe their research but not everything goes as planned. The jumbo piston core comes up bent, but the team recovers and get good data. For more information, please click here.
"Studying Seals" Bob Garrott and his team of students and assistants from Montana State return each year to one of the most amazing locations on Earth, where sea-ice bumps up against the land, opening up cracks that become nurseries for each new generation of Weddell seals. A close-up look at the first few months of a pup that may gain 200 pounds in just a few weeks. Venture out with the researchers as they carefully weigh and photograph the seals. For more information, please click here.
The Pine Island Glacier Research Expedition, 2007-2008
This 4-part podcast mini-series documents the harsh reality of doing science in Antarctica, where nothing goes as planned, and ingenuity, patience and dedication are always required. For more information, please click here.
In part 1, "The Road Less Traveled", NASA's Bob Bindschadler and NYU's David Holland set off for Antarctica and explain their mission. Then, accompanied by a mountaineer and POLAR-PALOOZA's embedded cameraman, they head off to the WAIS Divide Camp, jumping off point for their trip to the PIG, the Pine Island Glacier.
Part 2, "To the Ice Shelf and Back", sees Bindschadler land on the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, a place no human has ever visited before. All seems to be going well, but en route back to WAIS to collect more gear, Bob's told that the landing site is too hard for more safe touchdowns. Bitterly disappointed, back at WAIS, he works with Holland to get as much science data as possible. They get permission from NSF to deploy their Automated Weather Station. Will bad weather and crevasses stymie that plan too?
"A Weather Station will be Installed", part 3 in the series, accompanies Holland, mountaineer Galen Dossin, and videographer Cliff Leight as they manhandle the heavy AWS into place, and assemble the electronics, solar panels and wind turbines. At first, the weather's fine, but then - as always in Antarctica - conditions change, and testing has to be done in blowing snow and wind. It's even worse at WAIS: they have to wait, marooned in the field, for the flight that will come to retrieve them from a successful deployment.
Part 4, "Antarctica is in Charge". Reunited, the full team deploys two GPS units which they hope will document the rapid movement of the PIG. Holland and Bindshadler explain the significance of their work, their recognition that weather and logistics dictate what any researcher can achieve here, and yet express their satisfaction at visiting places no human ever has before, and surmounting challenges in order to have a good shot at getting data needed for humans to figure out the future.
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POLAR-PALOOZA and the materials on this website are based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0632262. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE/Geoff Haines-Stiles Productions, Inc., and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.