Meet Claire Parkinson
Claire Parkinson is a NASA scientist. She uses satellite data to study the connection between sea ice and climate. Sea ice is found at the surface of oceans near the North and South poles. Sea ice covers huge areas and reflects sunlight back to space. It also protects ocean water from the cold atmosphere.
Satellite data helps Claire track how sea ice cover has changed over the years. She uses computers to make maps and plots of the data. This information helps explain changes in the ice. The results can be surprising and exciting. All of this work helps us learn new things about the Earth system.
Most of Claire's work is done inside an office. But once in a while she goes on a trip. She even went to the North Pole in 1999. She and other scientists went there to measure how thick the ice was. It's better to do that up close than from a satellite. They slept in tents, got very cold, and worked as a team. It was a fun break from the office.
Claire also works on a satellite mission named Aqua. Aqua was launched in 2002. The goal of Aqua is to learn more about water on Earth. Water exists in gas, liquid and solid forms.
Like other scientists, Claire writes about her work in science journals. She also explains her work at science meetings and to reporters. And she goes to schools to talk about sea ice and Aqua. She even wrote a book about how satellites are used to study Earth.
Written by Claire Parkinson
Edited by Dan Stillman, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies