Ocean, Atmosphere, Sea Ice, and Snowpack Interactions

What Are They Doing?

Team researchers investigated air-surface chemical interactions in the Arctic, and how these might evolve in future climates. Their efforts were part of the Ocean, Atmosphere, Sea Ice, Snowpack (OASIS) program – an international program that involves scientists from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and the UK.

To gather data, the team used state-of-the-art chemical and biological sensors, micrometeorological instrumentation, Lidars, and tethered balloons to measure chemical and biological exchanges between the atmosphere and ice, ocean, and snow surfaces. The study focused on the impacts of these chemical reservoirs on tropospheric chemistry, climate, and their feedbacks in the Arctic. By seeking the answer to key questions about the nature of these surfaces, including how, where, and which chemical substances and aerosols are processed and activated in snow surfaces, the team pursued big-picture climate issues and contributed to predictions about climate change in the arctic.

Where Are They?

For this project, the research team flew to Barrow, a small community of approximately 4,500 people on the northern coast of Alaska. The OASIS 2009 field campaign was supported through the Barrow Arctic Research Center (BARC) (www.arcticscience.org/), and the instrumentation was located a short walk from the laboratory, in the clean air research area outside Barrow.

Expedition Map


Jumping for joy
August 25, 2013 - Kangerlussuaq, Greenland Our last day in the Arctic brought us to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. I have tried for a while now to pronounce the name correctly, but am far from perfect. Phonetically it is spelled as: gang-er-loose-sue-arc. You can click on that link to hear the pronunciation. Map of Day 15, Kangerlussuaq, Greenland I was excited to visit Kangerlussuaq, since my daughter Jeannie, spent a month in Greenland with the Joint Science Education Program (JSEP) in the summer of 2011. You can read her PolarTREC journals and blogs about this experience. After traveling 3...
Colorful buildings
Enjoying Sisimiut - August 24, 2013 Today we visited Sisimiut, Greenland. It is a town of approximately 5,600 residents. Our tour guide, a Sisimiut native, showed us around the area. The population of this community is expanding with 100 births per year. There is a 6-month waiting list for an apartment, and signs of construction could be seen. Day 14 Map of Sismiut, Greenland Colorful buildings in Sisimiut as seen from the dock Crystal Thiele and me in front of the ship The buildings in Sisimiut are very colorful. Traditionally the house colors had the following meaning. Yellow...
Igneous Rock
Columnar Basalt on Disko Island - August 23, 2013 Basalt is an igneous rock formed from molten lava. Sometimes it cools in a formation called "columnar basalt." It creates some very beautiful patterns in the rock. We spent the afternoon kayaking among these formations on Disko Island. Our ice specialist, Ray Jourdain, came to the rescue when our day's plans were changed. He helped navigate the boat to Disko Island. It turned into a spectacular day. Columnar Basalt on Disko Island Here is a 2-minute geology lesson that explains how columnar basalt forms. I like how the geologist compares...
Iceberg Arch
Greenland - August 23, 2013 The Greenlandic word "Ilulissat" translates into English as "Icebergs." We experienced so many icebergs today; we could not do our planned visit to the town and the Ilulissat Icefjord. Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. In 1979 home-rule was introduced to Greenland. In 2009, Greenland moved to self-rule. Some parts of Greenland's government are still tied to Denmark. They share the same currency, queen, and armed forces. Today Greenland's population is around 57,000 people and is approximately 80% Inuit. The residents speak Greenlandic, Danish and many...
Greenland Flag
Greenland - August 22, 2013 Today we reached Greenland. If you have been following me, you may have noticed I skipped a day. On day 11 of our trip we were at sea all day crossing Baffin Bay. My fellow educators and I took the opportunity to learn about operations on the ship. That will be a future journal. We've arrived in Greenland. Flying the flag. Our location on day 12 We woke early this morning as the sun was rising, between 4-5 AM. It seemed especially early since over the last two days of traveling we lost two hours. Once our clocks were set on Greenlandic time, we were now 5...

Expedition Resources

Project Information

15 March 2009 to 3 April 2009
Location: Barrow, Alaska
Project Funded Title: Ocean-Atmosphere-Sea Ice-Snowpack (OASIS) 2009

Meet the Team

Betsy Wilkening's picture
Wilson K-8 School
Tucson, AZ
United States

Betsy Wilkening graduated from the University of Arizona in 1982 with a degree in chemical engineering, and has since worn many hats including: process and systems engineer, stay-at-home mom, pre-school science teacher, high school chemistry teacher, and currently is a 7th grade teacher. As part of her environmental, earth, and space science classes, Mrs. Wilkening’s students participate in light pollution studies, water monitoring, and go on an annual field trip to the Grand Canyon. In addition, her students have been participating in the International Polar Year since the kick-off in 2007. By working in the Arctic, she wants her students to understand the connection between our actions, arctic climate change, and the subsequent climate change in the southwest. Mrs. Wilkening commutes to school all year round on her bicycle, and, when she has time, she runs, swims, rafts, camps, hikes, plays water polo, surfs, and does triathlons and half-marathons.

Harry Beine's picture
University of California at Davis
Davis, CA
United States

Harry Beine is an associate researcher in the Land, Air, and Water Resources Department at the University of California Davis. His current research focuses on how snow-atmosphere interactions affect global change, and he coordinates the international, multi-disciplinary Ocean, Atmosphere, Sea Ice, Snowpack Interactions (OASIS) program.