Science faculty member Matt Bingham is practicing what he preaches, and teaches. Matt is spending two weeks in Greenland with a group of fellow researchers, studying how ocean conditions on the west side of Greenland affect the vast ice sheet covering roughly 80 percent of the country. Milton students are supporting the trip stateside, writing content for the blog documenting the trip and conducting experiments on samples brought back from Greenland.
“The Arctic is warming much faster than the rest of the planet, and this ice sheet is showing evidence of a complicated, or nonlinear, melting process,” says Matt. “[The glacier] is not simply turning from ice into water. Our goal is to understand what is happening during this process.”
With research scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Clark University, Wheaton College and University of Washington, Matt will travel to three sites. The group is focusing its study on the Jakobshavn Glacier, where part of the western side of the ice sheet drains into the ocean. This glacier is the subject of many scientific studies and was featured prominently in the documentary Chasing Ice.
The team will look at the structure of the ice with ground penetrating radar; they will dig snow pits, collecting layers of snow, and drill shallow ice cores. They will send snow and ice samples back to the United States for study, and Milton students will experiment on a set of samples in the fall.