Investigating Climate Change

To the beautiful waters that surround our planet ...

far reach research
SUNY Oswego students get an opportunity to step foot where few have stepped foot before to conduct research.

antarcticaImagine glaciers melting, coastal cities flooding, countless species driven or disappearing from their natural habitats. Sounds like a genre of science fiction requiring a suspension of disbelief? In fact, it's the threat scientists see from evolving climate change, firmly rooted in scientific explanation.

Global Laboratory students will trek to Antarctica to work with climate scientists learning techniques to study the impact changing climes have upon glaciers, the melting sentinels on the front line of this environmental crusade.

Larson Ice ShelfFar from the fortress of solitude where people discard possible threats to the future, researchers chart receding glaciers and advancing temperatures to understand how naturally recurring phenomena relate to climate change. This type of hands-on climate monitoring is critically important to explaining how increasing carbon emissions and other pollution affect our planet.

Exploration in Antarctica is not bound to the study of a collapsing 45-million-year-old ice pack, however. Students in the Antarctica Global Laboratory can choose to work with Oswego's Paul Tomascak on Paulet Island, where they have a unique opportunity to study volcanic materials of more recent vintage.

Left: Satellite images taken over the past decade showing the rapid disintegration of the Larson ice shelf.

The geography of Paulet Island, the youngest of the James Ross Island Volcanic Group, exposes students to expanses of lava flows and volcanic ejecta that can serve as important clues to understanding proper stratigraphic sequencing caused by sea-level changes.

For Antarctica Global Laboratory students, the past is critical, but the future is now. They have opportunities to go places and do things that open their current world while impacting forthcoming generations.