August 24, 2016

One year later

It’s hard to believe it’s been an entire year since I was up in the Arctic, and I thought I’d give you an update on my post-cruise activities.

Arctic fun stuff

During the cruise I took countless photos, as well as a number of videos, and over the past year I’ve done my best to organize them during my free time and make them available online. I’m proud to have finished going through all of the HLY1502 photos, which are available via the multimedia page of my website, I’ve also gone through some of the videos that I took, and I recently uploaded a video of one of the polar bears we saw during the cruise, included below. You can also access the polar bear video on my website, which is perhaps more informative. I still have more footage from the cruise to go through, but finding time to edit all of the clips together is a challenge while keeping up with grad school. By the time I graduate in May 2017, I hope to have finished making all of the videos from the cruise, and as I do I will upload them to YouTube. If you want to be updated on those videos, you can enter your email in the top right of this blog and you will automatically receive emails when I write new posts. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel or follow me on Twitter (or Instagram and/or Facebook) @arctic_andy for updates.

Another fun thing that I’ve done besides the photos and videos is give a talk on my experiences in the Arctic and Antarctic, which I call “The Adventures of (Ant)Arctic Andy”. The idea behind the talk is not to go in depth with the science that has brought me to the polar regions, but focus on the stories, or the adventures behind doing the science. The talk is essentially a photo slideshow from two cruises (photos can be accessed here), which allows me to put a little more (hopefully relatable) personality behind the photos, and engage people with polar and climate science who may otherwise not be. So far I’ve presented the talk in two classes at a neighboring high school and at the Miami Seaquarium for a summer camp. The most rewarding experience from giving the talks was seeing the excitement of the 7-year-old campers and responding to the great questions that they asked. Anyway, I hope to continue giving the talk as I add to it throughout my career, since I will (hopefully) be returning to the polar regions to continue studying them.

Instagram flyer for the talk I gave at the Miami Seaquarium (I am SPIDER-MAN).

Arctic science stuff

Regarding the CO2 system measurements that I made during the cruise with the Carbon Group, Ryan recently finished the technical report for those analyses, which is made available by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) and can be found here. The report includes many details on the measurements of total alkalinity (TA), total CO2 (TCO2 — also referred to as dissolved inorganic carbon or DIC). Comparisons of our 2015 measurements with previous measurements from 2005 and 1994 are also included in the report, showing that both TA and TCO2 have decreased in approximately the upper 100 m (330 ft), likely caused by the seawater being diluted (i.e., becoming fresher or less salty), as a result of greater sea ice loss than in previous decades (check out Arctic News to see how sea ice extent has changed in the past 30 years). If this dilution is factored into the TA and TCO2 comparisons, concentrations have likely increased over the past two decades. Similarly, pH has decreased notably (i.e., showing signs of acidification).

The Carbon Group from left to right: me, Ryan and Fen at the North Pole.
Regarding the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) samples that I collected for my lab, analysis recently begun earlier this month. Our goal is to have all of the samples analyzed by the end of 2016. The instrument that we use to analyze the DOC samples unfortunately can’t be taken out to sea, so we are always playing catch-up with analysis in our lab!

Misc. science stuff (i.e., my PhD dissertation)

Aside from the work I’ve done in the Arctic, I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year studying the Black Sea. I actually submitted a paper on it from Dutch Harbor, just before beginning the Arctic cruise. Since submission, that paper has gone through the peer-review process (i.e., other scientists have read the paper, reviewed it, and decided whether to accept or reject it based on its scientific merit). To make a long story short, that paper was accepted and published earlier this year and will be the first research chapter of my dissertation. That paper is on DOC in the anoxic waters of the Black Sea, and it can be found here.

A satellite image of the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea that I like.
In addition to that Black Sea paper, I also co-authored a paper, led by two Dutch colleagues, on the topic of iron-binding dissolved organic ligands in the Black Sea. I happened to meet both of them at the North Pole after having written the previous Black Sea paper with them (via email exchanges). Our ligand paper was also recently published, and it can be accessed here.

Meeting my Dutch colleagues at the North Pole, aboard the USCGC Healy. From left to right: Micha, me and Loes.
On top of those two Black Sea papers, I’ve also been working on another Black Sea paper with an Italian scientist. I spent 6 weeks in Pisa at the beginning of the year analyzing samples, and am returning to Pisa this Saturday to spend 7 weeks writing that paper, which will be the second research chapter of my dissertation. I am also studying the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, but I won’t get into that now since this post is already very long! If you would like to learn more about my dissertation topic, you can watch a two-minute talk that I recently gave at a workshop, summarizing my dissertation.

Let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll keep you posted with news from the Arctic for the time being.