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Check out Tim's Pictures from the Classroom - Barrow Students Experiencing Polar Science!

This journal will be a daily record of events while on AWS 98. My name is Tim Buckley and I am a science teacher at Barrow High School in Barrow, Alaska. Aaron Putnam, one of my students at BHS and I were notified several weeks ago that we had been selected to take part in the Arctic West Section 1998. We will be sponsored and supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS), and the Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL).

AWS 98 will be a month long trip into the frozen waters of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas aboard the Coast Guard Ice Breaker Polar Sea, (WAGB 11). Approximately 20 research scientists and graduate students from various universities, colleges, and research institutions will be aboard to conduct all types of ice, water, and mud investigations. Data collected on this cruise will provide more information on the condition of the Arctic Ocean at this time of year and lead to a better understanding of the variables that shape the arctic ecosystem.

During AWS 96 we saw a tremendous amount of ice algae under the ice, in the ice, and in the water as the ice broke up when the ship crunched through it. The questions as to how much, when did it grow, and what is it's role in the food web started to be topics for discussion amongst the science team members. Just the fact that there was photosynthetic material alive and well under meter or more thick ice was pretty amazing and everybody wanted to know more about it. From this has come the common point of interest for AWS 98 as we try to learn more about the role of ice algae in early season productivity of the Arctic Ocean.

I parcticipated in the AWS 96 cruise and found it to be a very useful platform for classroom projects over the last two years. Dr. Debra Meese from CRREL has been instrumental in providing equipment to my classroom that has allowed BHS students to sample near shore ice around Barrow this past school year. Thanks to support from CRREL, ARCUS, and ARM (Atmospheric Radiation Measurement) my students have been able to learn more about their immediate environment.

Dr. Meese is the principal investigator for the projects that Aaron and I will be working on during AWS 98. Our primary task will be to take several ice cores at each science station during the cruise. One of the cores will remain frozen and be examined for structure by Terry and Bill. The other core will cut into sections, melted, analyzed for ion, nutrient, and chlorophyll content. The nutrient and ion analysis will be conducted back at the CRREL facility in Hanover, New Hampshire, while the chlorophyll tests will be done by Aaron and myself here on the ship. The chlorophyll analysis will tell us the quantity of photosynthetic pigment present in each section of ice and the percentage of fresh vs. stale chlorophyll. This ratio will help determine how long it has been growing which can then help us figure out when it is that the algae starts to bloom.

In addition to our primary task of ice analysis for CRREL we will also be working on several other projects. Aaron will be encouraged to spend time with the water column and benthic researchers so he has a chance to get a big picture view of the arctic. I will be using several classroom computer interfaces and probes to determine which parcticular combination of equipment will be the most applicable to classroom investigations for this coming school year. As we prepare to set out on this research experience we look forward to this month with anticipation We know full well that it will be a busy month but we are ready to get to work and be active parcticipants in AWS 98.

Meet Tim's Research Team Members

June 1998

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May 1998

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