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NASA Chat: Science Live From the Arctic Ocean
Icescape On June 25, 2011, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy headed north from Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Credit: NASA/Kathryn Hansen

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› Q&A with Kevin Arrigo
› Twitter Transcript

NASA scientists have tweeted from the air and from space. Now, connect with scientists on board an icebreaker research ship in the Arctic Ocean.

NASA's ICESCAPE mission is at sea now on its second and final shipborne campaign to investigate the impacts of climate change in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. ICESCAPE stands for, or "Impacts of Climate on Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment."

For five weeks, 47 scientists on board the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy are using instruments above and below the ocean and sea ice. By combining the field observations with data from NASA satellites, scientists can achieve an improved picture of how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the ocean's chemistry and ecosystems.

Want to find out more about how science is being done on this Arctic voyage? At any time, submit questions via Twitter using hashtag #ICESCAPE. On July 11 at 1 p.m. EDT, follow @NASA_ICE as experts, live from the Arctic Ocean, tweet replies to select questions. The twitter chat will last one hour.

More About the Experts

Kevin Arrigo, an ecologist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., is ICESCAPE's chief scientist. Arrigo works a busy schedule on board the Healy. Aside from his chief scientist duties, Arrigo is interested in the implications of a changing climate on the base of the food web, and how the pieces of the Earth system fit together.

Don Perovich, a sea ice geophysicist at Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, N.H., is co-chief scientist for ICESCAPE. Perovich has studied sea ice for more than three decades, and more than two years of that time has been spent in the Arctic conducting field experiments. For ICESCAPE, Perovich directs the on-ice work. He is particularly interested in understanding how sunlight interacts with sea ice cover.

Paula Bontempi, program manager of the Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program, will also be standing by from NASA Headquarters in Washington to answer questions.

Twitter Transcript

NASA_ICE: The twitter chat with Arctic ocean & ice explorers is about to begin. Get ready to send your questions with hashtag #ICESCAPE!

nikotopshotta: @NASA_ICE #ICESCAPE What Is Nasa Ice And What Does The Arctic Have To Do With Space. Nasa Ice Has A Good Ring To It Though!

NASA_ICE: @nikotopshotta NASA does Earth science! Satellites are looking at the Arctic, learning about the ice and ecology.

kieranlee999: #ICESCAPE is it cold where you are? and if it is how cold

NASA_ICE: @kieranlee999 It's summer, 24 hours of daylight, but since ice is around it's always 32F! Sunny today. #ICESCAPE

NASA_ICE: Joining us: #ICESCAPE chief scientist Kevin Arrigo of Stanford, co-chief scientist Don Perovich of CRREL, and Paula Bontempi from NASA HQ.


 #ICESCAPE how fast are the Greenland ice sheets melting, and why aren't your explorations in the media in UK ?

NASA_ICE: @The_Mutts_Nutts NASA studies ice sheets too, but #ICESCAPE is looking at sea ice and the ocean.

RogersMatthew: #ICESCAPE Have you seen John Carpenter's The Thing, and what terrifies you most in the arctic? What is the opposite of terror, arctically?

NASA_ICE: @RogersMatthew We've seen the movie … liked it … nothing terrifying up here! Great place to work. #ICESCAPE

janeyoon90: @NASA_ICE #ICESCAPE What is the most challenging and incredible aspect of ocean and ice exploration?

NASA_ICE: @janeyoon90 For ocean: challenging because ocean is so vast and we understand so little. Incredible because there are always surprises! #ICESCAPE

OBieRaiD1225: NASA_ICE

#ICESCAPE Do we risk, through global warming, unleashing ancient harmful bacterias that may have been dormant?

NASA_ICE: @OBieRaiD1225 We have someone on board studying bacteria, but the issue is not something we worry about. #ICESCAPE

Angelikfire: by NASA_ICE

@NASA_ICE What impact do you believe climate warming willhave on the Arctic regions, especially their flora and fauna? #ICESCAPE

@Angelikfire The Arctic is becoming more temperate and ecosystems are migrating northward. #ICESCAPE is also looking at changes in seasonality.

wesrford: NASA_ICE 

What is your main objective? #icescape

NASA_ICE: @Wesrford #ICESCAPE looks to understand how decreasing sea ice is impacting Arctic marine ecosystems


 Do you have any response to those who believe climate change is a hoax? #ICESCAPE

NASA_ICE: @TankBag Yes! Observational evidence of change is overwhelming. #ICESCAPE is working to understand the effects of those changes

Angelikfire: NASA_ICE

@NASA_ICE How many people are taking part to this research project? What about universities? #ICESCAPE

NASA_ICE: @Angelikfire About 47 scientists and 80 crew. Its a full ship! About 20+ scientists not on the ship also have a role in #ICESCAPE

leptik Kha: NASA_ICE

Have you seen polar bears? I just make sure they're fine. The global warming is not good for them. #ICESCAPE

NASA_ICE: @leptik Yes, we've seen a few polar bears! We saw a lot of bears last year. Crew keeps us safe when we're working on the ice. #ICESCAPE

smqdc: NASA_ICE
@NASA_ICE How long to scientists typically spend in the Arctic when on a research mission? #ICESCAPE

NASA_ICE: @smqdc It varies … usually a month of two but sometimes up to a year! #ICESCAPE scientists are pursuing two 5-week cruises

noemiwork: NASA_ICE

@NASA_ICE Thanks for all the great updates! Any plans for comparing your research results to other areas outside the Arctic ocean?#ICESCAPE

NASA_ICE: @noemiwork Yes! Many scientists work in the Antarctic as well, and comparisons with that environment are important.


#ICESCAPE how is the weather and temp? Very hot-humid in Sarasota Florida.

NASA_ICE: @USA_Yacht Temperature right around freezing, often foggy, some sun, 20 mph winds … Kevin says: would rather be in Florida!

JordanWiklund: NASA_ICE

@NASA_ICE how is the Healy holding up? She looks beautiful! Cheers to TofW Tom Olsen from his friends Deb & Peg of #MN! #ICESCAPE

NASA_ICE: @JordanWiklund The Healy and crew are great, good for #ICESCAPE science. Lots of tasty food! This ship is nice and steady

Bibhuti_Bhusan: NASA_ICE

What about the bacterias and micro-organisms are the conditions still good for their survival ?? @NASA_ICE #ICESCAPE

NASA_ICE: @Bibhuti_Bhusan microbes do just fine in the cold, they grow a little slower but they're an important part of the ecosystem. #ICESCAPE

smqdc: NASA_ICE

@NASA_ICE What kind of scientists are involved in NASA ICE research? #ICESCAPE

NASA_ICE: @smqdc #ICESCAPE has oceanographers, geophysicists, biologists, remote sensors and chemists … to name a few!

brendaholtz: NASA_ICE

@NASA_ICE where exactly are you now + can u send us a pic? #ICESCAPE

NASA_ICE: @brendaholtz #ICESCAPE is heading north, currently about 134 miles north of Barrow, Alaska. Pics after the chat!

svenson: NASA_ICE
#ICESCAPE Are you eating your peas?

NASA_ICE: @svenson The food is great, turkey for dinner last night, split vote on eating peas! #ICESCAPE

ZackyA666: NASA_ICE
@NASA_ICE Do you think areas of Greenland will resemble coasts of Norway soon? #ICESCAPE

NASA_ICE: @ZackyA666 Soon is not likely. #ICESCAPE scientists are studying different aspects of the environment. Other NASA groups study melting glaciers.

sonicscott1: NASA_ICE

#ICESCAPE how does your WIFI work? Seriously

@sonicscott1 Here's how #ICESCAPE communicates from the Arctic Ocean:

smqdc: @NASA_ICE How does #ICESCAPE research fit into NASA's overall mission?

NASA_ICE: @smqdc From NASA HQ: #ICESCAPE is pioneering scientific discovery and understanding and protecting our home planet.

JordanWiklund: NASA_ICE
@NASA_ICE who is the best cribbage player on the Healy? How goes the tournament? #ICESCAPE

NASA_ICE: @JordanWiklund #ICESCAPE just finished round 1 of the cribbage tourney, top seeds already eliminated! It's anyone's (card) game.

NASA_ICE: #ICESCAPE chat is complete, thanks for sending your questions! Follow our progress at:

NASA_ICE: Thanks to Kevin (the pea hater) Arrigo, Don Perovich, and Paula Bontempi for answering questions during the #ICESCAPE chat.