Ice Station S.H.E.B.A.

Imagine floating on a huge ice floe as it drifts through the Arctic all year long. Well, to gain new insights into the dynamics of the Arctic climate, that’s pretty much what a group of scientists have done for the past year in a project called SHEBA, run by the Office of Naval Research and other agencies. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History. The polar regions play a crucial role in the Earth’s weather system, a role that researchers still don’t completely understand. So scientists designed an experiment to study the Arctic — the weather, the water, the ice and the ecosystem — firsthand.

“The station is on the drifting pack ice, and so its position changes from day to day. It’s drifted about 800 miles over a circuitous path since we started out in October of 1997.”

Dick Moritz is the director of the SHEBA Project Office at the University of Washington in Seattle.

“SHEBA stands for the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean.”

We’re listening to sounds recorded at the SHEBA research vessel — an icebreaker which was intentionally frozen into the Arctic pack ice, becoming a floating power and communications center.

“And surrounding the icebreaker is pack ice of the Arctic Ocean and on the surface of the ice we have huts and other structures that house a lot of the instruments and experimental devices we’re using. We wanted to follow the ice through a complete annual cycle from freeze up through the winter and the season during which the ice grows and thickens into the summer and the melt season, as we call it, right through until freeze up in the following year. So we started out in October 1997 and we plan to finish in October 1998.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Ice Station S.H.E.B.A.

A team of scientists will spend one year drifting in the Arctic ice as part of an effort by NASA and other agencies to monitor the Earth’s “vital signs.”
Air Date:10/19/1998
Scientist:
Transcript:

Imagine floating on a huge ice floe as it drifts through the Arctic all year long. Well, to gain new insights into the dynamics of the Arctic climate, that's pretty much what a group of scientists have done for the past year in a project called SHEBA, run by the Office of Naval Research and other agencies. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History. The polar regions play a crucial role in the Earth's weather system, a role that researchers still don't completely understand. So scientists designed an experiment to study the Arctic -- the weather, the water, the ice and the ecosystem -- firsthand.

"The station is on the drifting pack ice, and so its position changes from day to day. It's drifted about 800 miles over a circuitous path since we started out in October of 1997."

Dick Moritz is the director of the SHEBA Project Office at the University of Washington in Seattle.

"SHEBA stands for the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean."

We're listening to sounds recorded at the SHEBA research vessel -- an icebreaker which was intentionally frozen into the Arctic pack ice, becoming a floating power and communications center.

"And surrounding the icebreaker is pack ice of the Arctic Ocean and on the surface of the ice we have huts and other structures that house a lot of the instruments and experimental devices we're using. We wanted to follow the ice through a complete annual cycle from freeze up through the winter and the season during which the ice grows and thickens into the summer and the melt season, as we call it, right through until freeze up in the following year. So we started out in October 1997 and we plan to finish in October 1998."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.