On March 17, 2008 a team of chemists will depart from Villanova University, bound for the cold, icy expanses of northern Alaska. Barrow, Alaska will be our home until June. "Why such a cold vacation spot?" you might ask. Although Barrow is an "odd" vacation destination to be sure, we are in fact traveling there for much more academic reasons.
Ian Eisele, Glenn Rowland and myself (Amanda Grannas) are going to spend the next few months studying the fate of persistent organic pollutants in Alaska. We'll be joined in April by Bill Smith (a high school teacher) and then in May by Alexandra Bausch (an undergraduate from Villanova). Specifically, we will look at how sunlight can break down these pollutants when they are trapped in snow and ice. Also, we will be sampling the air, snow, sea ice, water and runoff (during snowmelt) from the area to get an idea of what kinds of pollutants are in the region, how concentrated they are, how those concentrations change over the spring-summer season and try to find out where they are coming from and what happens to them once they arrive in Barrow.
For those interested in the gory details, a more detailed description of our research can be found at: http://www.homepage.villanova.edu/amanda.grannas/icesnow.html
What you are probably more interested in is following the adventures of our team. For example, "Did they see a polar bear today?" or "Who fell off their snowmobile lately?".
Here is where you can find that type of information. Each team member will be making postings here, hopefully on a very routine basis. We plan to upload pictures, video, slideshows, etc. It should be great fun for us, and I hope for you as well!
So, with that, I welcome you to our Blog and hope you enjoy the snow! (oops, I mean SHOW!)
-Amanda (aka Dr. G)