Stories from a changing planet

During the International Polar Year, running through March 2009, more than 50,000 researchers from 60+ nations will be working in some of the most remote locations on Earth, observing at firsthand developments at the Poles that will shape our planet for decades to come. On Saturday evening, October 13, during the ASTC Annual Conference, some of them will tell their stories in a high-energy presentation illustrated with evocative soundscapes, high-definition video clips, and authentic artifacts, including a thousand-year-old ice core from Antarctica. The evening is introduced by Andy Revkin, award-winning environment reporter at the New York Times since 1995. Revkin is the author of Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast, the companion volume to a 1992 American Museum of Natural History exhibition on climate change, and, most recently, The North Pole Was Here: Puzzles and Perils at the Top of the World.

Our distinguished presenters are part of the NSF- and NASA-supported POLAR-PALOOZA education and outreach tour that is scheduled to launch October 18 at the San Diego Museum of Natural History, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, and Birch Aquarium at Scripps. They include Waleed Abdalati, head of the Cryospheric Sciences Branch at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and former program scientist for NASA’s Ice Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat); Alberto Behar, NASA/JPL engineer on the Antarctic Ice Borehole Probe Project and developer of robots that record the working of “ice streams” in
Antarctica and “moulins” in Greenland; Richard Glenn (appearing on tape, along with stories from coastal and interior Alaskan Elders), geologist, whaling captain, Inupiat community leader, and board member of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, Barrow, Alaska; Darlene Lim, Arctic and Antarctic diver and exobiologist at the SETI Institute, Mountain View, California; and Stephanie Pfirman, oceanographer and professor at Barnard College and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, member of the Polar Research Board, and co-developer of the Global Warming and Shackleton exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History, New York.

During a follow-up session on Sunday at noon, some of the presenters from will discuss how to use POLAR-PALOOZA and International Polar Year events to address the widespread and growing public interest in climate change.