Other ongoing projects included observations of seals, penguins and seabirds; biological activity in the sea water; and temperature and salinity measurements into the ocean depths.
Now with one trip to the Antarctic under their belt, Xie and Cicek are enlisting the help of world-renowned sea ice expert Stephen Ackley to assist in the analysis of the data in UTSA's Laboratory for Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics. Ackley, with more than 30 years as a government scientist and educator, joined the research team last year as a UTSA research associate professor and has more than a dozen trips to both the Arctic and Antarctic to his credit. His outstanding contribution to sea ice research was recognized in 2004 when the US Board of Geographical Names honored him by naming Ackley Point, a geographic feature in Antarctica, after him.
"In the Antarctic, we are seeing some regional increases in the sea ice along with regional decreases," said Ackley. "If you look at the totality of it, it appears as if it hasn't changed very much over the last 30 years, but it has. Even though we're only seeing these regional changes and not a systemic decline in the amount of ice cover, it is still significant in terms of the way the regions are responding and we're finding that it's linked to global change in the atmosphere."
The Antarctic trip, the first for both Xie and Cicek is not the last one planned for the UTSA research team. In September, Ackley plans to take more students and faculty from the Department of Earth and Environmental Science's Laboratory for Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics on the US icebreaker NB Palmer for a two month trip to the Antarctic sea ice.
Source:University of Texas at San Antonio