Special Feature: ASPIRE: The Amundsen Sea Polynya International Research Expedition
Collection launched: 15 Jul 2014
Understanding the climate-sensitive processes supporting the Antarctic's most productive marine ecosystem
The Amundsen Sea is a place on Earth about as far as you can get from human civilization. Satellites reveal it to be the most productive region of coastal Antarctica. Nearby glaciers and ice sheets are melting rapidly. Between November 2010 and January 2011, the U.S. Research Icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer was joined by the Swedish Icebreaker Oden for the Amundsen Sea Polynya International Research Expedition (ASPIRE). Scientists on the NBP focused on understanding the climate-sensitive dynamics of the open water region, known as a “polynya,” while the Oden investigated the disappearing sea-ice ecosystem nearby. Here we report our findings from this extraordinary place.
Additional articles under review
Patricia L. Yager Explains the Significance of the ASPIRE Special Feature
Please describe the focus of the ASPIRE Special Feature. The Amundsen Sea hosts the most productive polynya in all of coastal Antarctica, with its vibrant green waters visible from satellites. It is also one of the global regions most vulnerable to climate change, experiencing rapid losses in both sea ice cover and nearby ice sheets.