For today’s focus on global hotspots we present perspectives
from four guestbloggers talking about global climate change, undoubtedly one of
the greatest challenges facing our generation. Of course, while global warming
is HOT, it’s not quite a SPOT, or even a series of spots. And in fact, certain
“spots” maybe even get colder or drier as a result of global warming, not
hotter and wetter! Though global warming manifests itself most overtly in the
North and South Polar Regions and places like Iceland, it impacts all the Earth’s
ecosystems. Clearly, it’s a tricky issue to understand, which is why we’re so
lucky to have four guestbloggers helping us out today!
Later on, National Geographic’s Ford Cochran will describe
the tea kettle-like conditions brewing in Iceland. Then, the UN Foundation’s
Ozlem Esckiocak will encourage you to take action by signing the Youth Climate
Pledge. Finally, you’ll hear once more from National Geographic’s Danielle
Williams, who presents Community Action Plans developed by team members with
the Earthwatch/HSBC Climate Change Partnership. But first we’ll hear from
Joanna Cyprys, Production Manager with the Global
Nomads Group. Joanna is part of a team studying impacts of climate change
on the Antarctic Continent, and sharing their discoveries with students across
the globe via blog and teleconferencing. Read on to hear more about Joanna’s
research, daily achievements and struggles, and her first penguin sighting!
Why am I Here?
So why am
I here on the coldest and driest place on earth? Well, Global Nomads Group (GNG) (www.gng.org), which seeks to bring the world to
the classroom through interactive dialogue via videoconferences, along with
other educators and scientists, are all part of an expedition to study climate
change through analyzing rock sediments. The entire science team in Antarctica is committed to not only discovering more
about climate change, but also educating youth about the importance and relevance
of this work. Today, the climate is changing faster than any time of the
last 65 million years. Warmer ocean temperatures are feeding more powerful
hurricanes, while mega heat waves and droughts are occurring in record numbers.
In partnership with The Offshore New Harbor Project (which is part of the
Antarctic Geological Drilling Program), GNG is hosting a series of Virtual
Classrooms from Antarctica from October through December to study evidence in
Antarctica from the last time carbon dioxide levels were this high — 34 million
years ago! By examining our world’s past, we hope to get a glimpse of our
future; as global warming has become an inevitable reality.
Life at Camp
Well, I’ve had quite an eventful
first 5 days on ice. It all started with my helicopter ride which I some how
made it through without losing my cookies…just barely though. Shakira [Brown-Petit,
a teacher from Harlem], and I have never been
on a helicopter, so our pilot, Murphy, decided to take on a joy ride. We
started off cruising out around the back of Ross Island and over Scott Base, which is run by the New Zealanders. Then he thought it
would be fun to fly us up in the clouds and rotate the chopper from side to
side as we weaved our way through a mass of whiteness. We dropped back down
below the clouds and flew over a bunch of icebergs, pressure ridges and few
other field camps. To top it off he landed us on an iceberg before dropping us
off at camp.
After the ride of my life I
arrived at camp! What a site it was. Everyone was outside taking pictures and
helping us with our bags. It was a pretty sweet homecoming especially since
everything was all set up since we arrived a few days after everyone else.
The first night I did not sleep at
all. I was pretty cozy in my Arctic Storm sleeping bag but just could not relax
enough to sleep. At 6 AM Steve, our P.I. (Principle Investigator), blew a conch
to wake us up, yes I said that right “a conch.”
Continue reading “Life at the South Pole”