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August 17, 2012

NASA Scientist Discusses “My Winter in Greenland and Summer in Antarctica” Sept. 12

The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets contain 99 percent of the Earth’s fresh-water ice, according to NASA scientist Lora Koenig. Changes to these regions can profoundly affect sea level and the rate at which the Earth’s climate warms or cools, placing them at the heart of research into the planet’s future.

To understand the current state of the ice sheets and to model the future, scientists spend months at a time on the ice in challenging darkness, frigid temperatures and high winds. They must learn to solve practical problems of survival and travel through extreme environments while they take precise measurements with specially-designed instruments.

Koenig, who is one of these scientists, will discuss "My Winter in Greenland and Summer in Antarctica" at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 12 in the Mary Pickford Theater on the third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not needed.

The illustrated lecture, the fifth in a series of programs in 2012, is presented through a collaboration between the Library’s Science, Technology and Business Division and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The collaboration is in its sixth year.

Koenig is a physical scientist in Cryospheric Sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She is an expert in remote sensing of ice sheets and snow. Her research interests focus on detecting accumulation-rate changes and temperature changes over the ice sheets using passive microwave satellite sensors. Koenig studies the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets on the ground using field techniques such as snow pits and ice cores, and she also studies them using airborne and space-borne sensors.

Her talk will give insight into what it is like to conduct field research measuring temperatures and snowfall, or accumulation, over the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets during both the polar night and polar day, and on the meaning of her research results.

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PR 12-151
ISSN 0731-3527

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