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8 August, 2001

Today we toured the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) in Hanover, NH as part of our orientation for the TEA (Teachers Experiencing Antarctica and the Arctic) program. CRREL is a part of the U.S. Army Engineering, Research and Development Center consortium, a group of four sister facilities across the country. The work done throughout the consortium supports the Army's work to support the troops in the field.

Starting in temperatures in the mid '90's and ending in the Cold Room Complex at minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit, we visited several of the facilities within CRREL. Most are not actively testing but, coming from Vermont, it was easy for me to visualize the impact of the work done in areas such as the Ice Engineering Facility and the Frost Effects Research Facility. Damage from ice break up jams is common and costly throughout New England, and Vermonters all remember front page pictures of rowboats passing down the main street of Montpelier, our capital! And who among us New Englanders has not experienced the impact of frost heaves as a result of a harsh winter.

Ending the visit in the -25 degree Cold Room felt great, but the Cold Room was not designed simply to cool down 12 sweaty teachers. Ice cores from areas throughout the polar regions are stored here. Analysis of ice cores serves several purposes; one researcher working at CRREL and with the TEA program is analyzing ice cores from Greenland to test hypotheses about global warming and paleoclimates (past climates).

I'll be heading to a site somewhere in the Arctic in the summer of 2002. As we left the last building at CRREL, we passed a map of the world as seen looking down at the north pole. Check it out to see the possible places I could be!

Ice cores in Cold Room Complex at CRREL

Map of the Arctic looking down at the North Pole

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