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Welcome Aboard by Dallas Murphy

We’re going to the western Arctic with Dr. Bob Pickart and his science staff aboard the icebreaker Healy.  Using a range of media, still photography, video, words, and website, we’ll send back a vivid look at how geoscientists do their work in a cold ocean and a glimpse into daily life aboard an icebreaker.

That the USCGC Healy is an icebreaker is only one of the aspects that make this cruise special.

This is primarily an oceanographic expedition.  Dr. Pickart is returning to the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska’s North Slope to continue measuring the circulation and water characteristics of the continental shelf and deep ocean.  But he has also brought an eclectic team of scientists and technicians—marine-mammal and plankton experts, ocean chemists and ecologists, an ornithologist—to conduct their own experiments, as well as an Inupiat observer.  The environmental, holistic approach to climate change in the Western Arctic: that’s what makes this cruise special.
  A Place Like No Other
The other special aspect of the cruise is the subject itself.  There is simply no place in the world like the Arctic.  Dr. Pickart’s cruise plan takes us to about 73 degrees North some 400 miles above the Arctic Circle.  We’ll experience that fantastic light, the endless visibility, the loom of ice; we’ll observe the birds and marine mammals, and perhaps we’ll even get to walk on the pack ice.  We’ll take you along every step of the way, sending daily journals, photos and videos in near real time.

Troubled Future
The Western Arctic is a troubled environment, on the front lines of climate change, its future in jeopardy and doubt. As climate change bites down on the Arctic far harder than anywhere else, now is a good time to understand the nature of the change.  That is the fundamental objective of the cruise of the USCGC Healy—and to report ashore the impacts of climate change is, therefore, the objective of our outreach efforts.

Welcome aboard.

Photo by Chris Linder, WHOI

Last updated: June 21, 2010

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