About the 2016 Trip

Goal for the 2016 Alaska research trip

The goal of the 2016 trip builds upon past research and will investigate parts of the thermal balance and properties of the arctic sea ice, and to develop a methodology for such studies. This research is a contributor to the methodology of studying the thermal balance of our planet. Learn more about PHYS 325: Geophysics Field Research: Arctic Geophysics.

The research will include the use of a microclimate sled being developed by Dr. Rhett Herman.

Dr. Herman is leading the group of 8 Radford University students, 3 Governor's School students and their faculty advisor, on the expedition. Most of the research group will arrive in Alaska on February 27. The last of the group leaves March 12.

By building upon earlier work and using familiar equipment in news ways, Dr. Herman hopes to find out if there are conditions under which electrical resistivity can give an accurate reading of the depth of the ice. By combining theory that he knows from teaching resistivity in geophysics with an article he published in 2001 about a “homemade” resistivity array, we will have to wait and see what the research reveals. The results of the new ways of using the equipment will also help guide plans for future expeditions.

Scientific Collaborations

A new facet of this expedition is a collaboration between Radford University and Dorothy K. Hall at the University of Maryland (also Emeritus Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center). Radford University researchers will be deploying Thermachron sensors. The idea is to see how the researchers on-ice temperature readings compare to the satellite data to which Hall has access. Comparisons will be completed post-trip. 

An Arctic Research Facility

The Naval Arctic Research Laboratory was given by the Navy to the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the 1980s. The NSF administers it specifically for research operations. Radford University researchers are joining researchers from all over the world who come to this polar research field site.  

Presenting the research

As always following a trip to the Arctic, Radford University researchers will present their work at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, CA which is the world’s largest meeting of earth and space scientists. Some students will go with Dr. Herman to this prestigious meeting, with many of the 23,000+ attendees being from NASA and NOAA.