Tuesday, May 26, 2015

5/26: Wheels up in T minus...

Happy Tuesday,
It is crunch time here in Maine as flight time is closing in. Bags are packed (mostly), class plans are distributed, and now for the last minute emails and web updates before I am radio-silent for an as yet undetermined amount of time. If the internet price is still reasonable in the Oslo airport, I will update then but that is more than a few hours and time zones from now. 

If you are just joining this blog for the first time here is the essential information:

My name is Mr. (Dan) Frost and hopefully my questionable domain name is starting to make sense. I teach Math at Thornton Academy in Saco, ME and am lucky enough to have the opportunity to rejoin my friends and colleagues on a research expedition to the Norwegian Arctic. This blog exists as a means for me to share the experience of completing research in the multi-faceted field of climate change in real time. My own research experience began in the Canadian Arctic back in 2002 reconstructing climate change from lake sediments and every trip north since has filled me with exhilaration. Now, I am extremely excited to continue to work in the field but also share the stories of field work and our changing climate with the greater community at large. In addition, this work is utterly reliant on the cumulative contributions of those working in the STEM fields and I hope to effectively highlight a decent answer to the long running question in Math class: “When would anyone ever use?”
Clam cross section showing the annual growth bands and highlighting events in history. These layers are what we're after...
Our goals: In a nutshell, this research aims to use the shell chemistry and physical characteristics of the annual layers of bivalves (clams) to understand the climate/environment of the Arctic. Like tree rings, the yearly nature of clam shell growth allows us to pinpoint changes in the timing of events recorded in their physical makeup. Furthermore, these clams live up to 500 years old which allows us to find recently dead and ancient clams and create what is referred to as a chronology, or long running record in time of clam based climate information dating back up to 6,000 years ago. This means lots of time combing beaches, the ocean floors of the Barents Sea, and paleo-beach deposits to find long dead clams to tell their stories (with a smile!)
Recently collected and catalogued clams in the 2014 field season

Packaging specimens for the return trip to the lab
Our research team consists of scientists from the Iowa State, Bates College, and Akva Plan-Niva (a Norwegian based research consortium) with help from numerous other institutions and individuals. If you also wish to take an active part in the happenings of the 2015 field season, it is as easy as leaving a comment or question on this blog. I will be posting STEM related content continually on the blog but welcome questions about the research, its scientific underpinnings, field work, or the Arctic in general.

See you in Oslo…

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