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On board an icebreaker in the Arctic

A team of Stanford Earth scientists participated in a five-week NASA-sponsored Arctic cruise to investigate the effects of climate change on marine life.

Cynthia L Gori
September 15, 2010

Haley Smith Kingsland is a master’s student in the Earth Systems Program, specializing in environmental communication. She posted her first blog aboard the Healy—a 420-foot-long ship that can plow through sea ice up to four and a half feet thick—on June 4, 2010, in anticipation of the Healy’s departure out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska on June 15. The Healy pushed its way through the Arctic ice, sailing up through the Bering Strait into the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off the northwest coast of Alaska, finally pulling into port in Resurrection Bay on July 21. Professor Kevin Arrigo of the Department of Environmental Earth System Science was chief scientist for the voyage. (Read Kingland’s and Arrigo’s blogs from the voyage [link here to ICESCAPE blog].)

The Coast Guard Cutter Healy is the United States' newest and most technologically advanced polar icebreaker. The research cruise was part of ICESCAPE (Impacts of Climate Change on the Eco-Systems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment), a multi-year NASA-sponsored project to determine the impact of climate change on the health of the Arctic Ocean.

Arrigo and Kingsland were among seven Stanford Earth scientists (the others are Zack Brown and Molly Palmer, EESS grad students; Gert van Dijken and Matt Mills, EESS research staff; and Haley Kingsland and Kate Lowry, Earth Systems students) who were part of the 43-person science team taking the five-week Arctic voyage to gather data about the state of the ice, ocean, and microscopic plants and animals that live there.