Chris Linder Photography - Science and Natural History Storytelling

Project » Live from the Poles / Polar Discovery

Live from the Poles

The polar regions are experiencing unprecedented environmental changes that have significant potential impacts on global climate, ecosystems, and society. Thousands of scientists from dozens of countries focused their attention on the Arctic and Antarctic from 2007-2009 in an effort known as the International Polar Year (IPY).

I created the Live from the Poles project to heighten public awareness about polar science during IPY. The goal of our project was to by bringing cutting-edge science to a diverse, worldwide audience using photography and writing from the field. Live from the Poles was funded by competitive grants awarded by the National Science Foundation and the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

We conveyed the research goals, methods, and findings of five major polar expeditions using the interactive, educational Polar Discovery Website. The site features video interviews with the scientists, daily photo journals, informative animations, and more. While in the field with the research teams, we also facilitated satellite phone Live Talks between scientists and museum auditoriums across the United States, where audience members asked the scientists questions in real time.

During Expedition 1-North Pole Observatory Live from the Poles traveled to Northern Canada. The research team deployed buoys in the Arctic pack ice that are instrumental in tracking climate change in the Arctic Ocean.

Expedition 2-Arctic Seafloor began on July 1st, 2007. We traveled to the eastern Arctic aboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden to document researchers searching for life on the Gakkel Ridge, a volcanic mountain range at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean.

Expedition 3-Penguins and Lava Flows brought the Live from the Poles media team to Antarctica's Ross Island. We visited three separate field camps, covering penguin research and a geology field camp.

On Expedition 4-Greenland's Glaciers, the team joined scientists studying lakes of meltwater that form--and rapidly disappear--on top of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The draining lakes are causing the ice to slide more quickly to the sea, contributing to sea level rise.

Expedition 5-Bering Sea Ecosystem, took place in April-May 2009 aboard the US Coast Guard icebreaker Healy. Scientists studied the importance of sea ice to this critical ecosystem, and how climate change will impact it.


In the news: celebrating the IPY kickoff

March 1st, 2007 marked the first day of the International Polar Year. Spanning two full years, and involving researchers from over 60 different countries, IPY was a global cooperative effort to conduct interdisciplinary science at the poles. To celebrate the IPY kickoff, I traveled to the Museum of Science, Boston, and talked about the Live from the Poles program with Leslie Gaydos from New England Cable News and Adam Weiss, the Museum of Science podcaster.

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IPY logo

Live from the Poles is an officially sanctioned project of the International Polar Year.

IPY logo

Live from the Poles is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Richard King Mellon Foundation.