Sponsored by the Geomorphology Specialty Group
Association of American Geographers 102nd Annual Meeting
Chicago, Illinois, March 7-11.
The International Polar Years and Geography: A Legacy for the Future I
Paper Session 3109
Thursday, 3/9/06, from 8:00 AM - 9:40 AM
Geomorphology Specialty Group
Climate Specialty Group
Cryosphere Specialty Group
Association History Committee
Fredrick E. Nelson - University of Delaware
8:00 AM Author(s):
*Kevin R Wood - University of Washington/JISAO
James E Overland - NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
Abstract Title: Lessons learned from the First International Polar Year, 1882-1883
A unique glimpse of the circumpolar Arctic environment from a period before the present era of climate change and global observations is found in the records of the first International Polar Year of 1882-1883. Inspired by the Austrian scientist and explorer Carl Weyprecht, the purpose of the International Polar Year was to discover the fundamental laws governing global meteorological and geophysical phenomena through a program of simultaneous observations that encompassed the Polar Regions. The field program was successfully completed, but afterwards the data fell into obscurity. The synthesis envisioned by Weyprecht was never undertaken. The first analysis of synchronous meteorological observations recorded during the International Polar Year shows that surface air temperature and sea-level pressure were within limits of recent climatology but exhibited a wide range of spatial and temporal variability, a pattern typical of the Arctic climate today. Monthly average temperature, sealevel pressure, and associated phenological anomalies were regionally coherent, consistent with the North Atlantic Oscillation and Pacific patterns of variability. Barrow, for example, showed a strong storm-driven Pacific influence in February. Two expedition ships were trapped in heavy ice in the Kara Sea where it is nearly ice-free today. These results demonstrate the usefulness of synoptic data in understanding the evolution of the climate and ecosystems in the Arctic. And while the first International Polar Year established a successful precedent for future international scientific cooperation in the Polar Regions, its unrealized promise highlights the importance of post-expedition synthesis and the effective preservation and analysis of valuable historical data.
Keywords: Arctic, International Polar Year, Climatology, Cryosphere,History
- 8:20 AM Author(s):
*David Carlson - International Polar Year
Lorraine Craig - Royal Geographic Society
Abstract Title: Polar Education for the upcoming International Polar Year
Scott’s trips to Antarctica, then Shackleton, from 1901 to 1916 marked the start of an amazing set of journeys throughout the 20 century to polar regions for scientific discovery. Less well known journeys included British North Greenland 1952-1954. Each of these travellers crossed the threshold of the RGS to speak of their journeys and their scientific research, many of the materials of which now form a national archive held by the RGS-IBG. These materials have been reinterpreted to provide an unparalleled educational resource as part of the Society’s Unlocking the Archive project, a series of on-line resources for public outreach as well as pupils aged 7 and upwards, onsite workshops, popular books, exhibitions and lectures. More contemporary scientific issues are addressed through the site ‘Geography in the news’. Following from award winning resources developed by the British Antarctic Survey, a web-based resource focussing on a range of contemporary issues is being developed for young people to understand global issues through geography which “enables us to understand change, conflict and the key issues which impact on our lives today and will affect our futures tomorrow.” In the UK, teaching and learning of geography reaches school children up to the age of 14 as it is a compulsory subject and one of the most popular optional subjects 14-16. In view of the upcoming International Polar Year, we consider opportunities to enhance these resources through additional links to science and humanities curricula, and by building international partnerships in development and use of like materials.
Keywords: polar, education
- 8:40 AM Author(s):
*Fae L Korsmo - National Science Foundation
Abstract Title: Glaciology, Public Understanding of Science, and the International Geophysical Year
In the 1940s, glaciology was an emerging discipline with important connections to geology, geography, meteorology, and biology. Practitioners such as Hans Ahlmann and William Field saw glaciers as indicators of climate and environmental change. Inclusion of glaciology into the research program of the International Geophysical Year (1957-1958) came at U.S. insistence; other scientific organizers of the International Geophysical Year were far more interested in the upper atmosphere. This paper shows how glaciology emerged as a major field of study in the International Geophysical Year and how the glaciologists worked toward increasing the public’s understanding of environmental science. Lessons learned from the International Geophysical Year will be extended to the present plans for the International Polar Year.
Keywords: glaciology,International Geophysical Year,history of science
- 9:00 AM Author(s):
*Jerry Brown - International Permafrost Association
Abstract Title: Permafrost and the International Polar Year
Three coordinated permafrost projects have been approved for inclusion in the International Polar Year (2007-2009). (1) The Permafrost Observatory Project: A Contribution to the Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP) will obtain a “snapshot” of permafrost temperatures in existing and new boreholes throughout both hemispheres. The project is a field campaign of the existing Global Terrestrial Network on Permafrost (GTN-P) and also includes the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) project and the newly developed project on carbon stocks in permafrost regions. (2) The Antarctic and sub-Antarctic Permafrost, Periglacial and Soil Environments project (ANTPAS) is aimed at integrating existing and new data on the distribution, thickness, age, history and physical and geochemical properties of permafrost, soils and the active-layer on the Antarctic continent and sub-Antarctic islands. A regional monitoring network will be established along selected environmental gradients. (3) The Arctic Circum- Polar Coastal Observatory Network (ACCO-Net) includes approximately 20 key coastal sites including deltas and estuaries of major Siberian and North American rivers at which physical, ecological, biochemical and socio-economic changes will be observed. Educational, outreach and data management activities are key elements of these projects and will contribute to the overall IPY goals and its legacy. Our Permafrost Legacy is to create the basis for a new generation of researcher and to produce the “snapshot” of existing conditions as a baseline for future change assessment. The International Permafrost Association is coordinating these projects. Initial results will be presented at the Ninth International Conference on Permafrost (NICOP) in early summer 2008.
Keywords: permafrost, Arctic, Antarctic , Polar Year, education, data management
- 9:20 AM Author(s):
*Jeannette Allen - SSAI at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center,
Abstract Title: NASA Remote Sensing Resources for K-12 Classrooms: Contributions to IPY 2007-08
Integrating land remote sensing technology with geography education presents a special opportunity for K-12 teachers, particularly during International Polar Year 2007-08. Land remote sensing and geography share spatial approaches to understanding how the Earth works and to solving practical problems. Participants in this session will learn about a suite of free NASA classroom-ready resources for educators to learn and to teach polar land cover change as an interactive element of our changing global climate. The session will cover ways of connecting polar change to life elsewhere on the planet, and to mapping changing ecosystems, glaciers, polar ice sheets, and pack ice, with a particular focus on Alaska and Antarctica. Culture-ecosystem interactions will be explored. Geospatial skills are increasingly valued in our present and predicted future workforce, and these skills appear throughout national standards for education. Land remote sensing further provides an easy-to-grasp, wonderful introduction to space-based geospatial technology for students and teachers.
Keywords: NASA, Remote Sensing, land cover change, cultural change, climate, poles, glaciers
Session Description: This series of three special paper sessions are co-sponsored by the Coastal and Marine Geography (CoMa) and Geomorphology specialty groups. The research presented in the paper sessions cover a broad spectrum of spatial and temporal scales within aeolian geomorphology.