Polar Research


Breaking Ice: Science at the Top of the World

Since 2003, the Beaufort Gyre Exploration Project at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has given us an up-close look at one of the fastest-changing parts of the world. In 2018, the Ocean Media Institute at Montana State University sent Hugo Sindelar to join the annual expedition aboard the Canadian icebreaker Louis S. St. Laurent to see how the scientists and engineers involved in the project bring back their hard-earned data and to hear what they’ve learned so far.

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On Top of the World

A helicopter takes off with a sling-load of freshly-drilled ice cores taken from the 2000-meter-high summit of an ice cap in west Greenland.

A helicopter takes off with a sling-load of freshly-drilled ice cores taken from the 2000-meter-high summit of an ice cap…

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Seal Spy

Marine ecologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is exploring new, non-invasive approaches to measuring the body mass of gray seals. Photo by Michelle Shero

Drones helps WHOI scientist measure the body mass of mother and pup seals during lactation

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A ‘Ticking Time Bomb’ in the Arctic

A 'Ticking Time Bomb' in the Arctic

Scientists discover that the amount of heat in a major Arctic Ocean circulation system has doubled over the past 30 years. If the temperatures continue to spike, it could eventually spell trouble for the ice above.

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Sea Ice

The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy moves through pancake ice in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea. (Photo by Carin Ashjian, Woods Hole Oceanographic…

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Polar Life

By human standards, they are extreme environments. Yet life not only persists in the poles…it thrives.

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Polar Research

Polar Ponds

The polar regions are experiencing unprecedented environmental changes that have significant potential impacts on global climate, ecosystems, and society.

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Sea Ice Glossary

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Arctic ice can be divided into two different types, classified by their method of formation. Icebergs are chunks of floating…

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Emperor Penguins’ First Journey to Sea

Emperor Penguins' First Journey to Sea

The paper, published Jan. 17, 2019, in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, also highlights the unique connection between juvenile diving behaviors and a layer of the ocean, known as the thermocline, where warmer surface waters meet cooler deep waters below and where their prey likely gather in groups.

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Greenland Ice Sheet Melt ‘Off the Charts’ Compared With Past Four Centuries

Greenland Ice Sheet Melt 'Off the Charts' Compared With Past Four Centuries

Surface melting across Greenland’s mile-thick ice sheet began increasing in the mid-19th century and then ramped up dramatically during the 20th and early 21st centuries, showing no signs of abating, according to new research published Dec. 5, 2018, in the journal Nature. The study provides new evidence of the impacts of climate change on Arctic melting and global sea level rise.

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A Change Has Come in the Arctic

A Change Has Come in the Arctic

On a long voyage across the Arctic Ocean, an MIT-WHOI graduate students finds chemical clues that climate change has already had impacts on the region.

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