Space Grant funds SNRAS graduate student research
Alice Orlich studies sea ice
SNRAS graduate student Alice Orlich is the recipient of a $5,000 Space Grant fellowship award, which she will use to continue the work she has been doing with Dr. Jennifer Hutchings since 2007, comparing in-situ sea ice data with AMSR-E and SSM/I imagery. As an undergraduate student research assistant she studied the variability of ice conditions in the Beaufort Sea during late-season melt and the onset of freeze-up for the summers of 2006-2009.
Advised by Assistant Professor Patricia Heiser, Orlich will amass disparate data records. Along with the Beaufort Sea data collected during the summer 2010 field season, Orlich intends to acquire comparable datasets of ship-based ice observations and on-ice sampling programs which were conducted aboard other research vessels throughout the Arctic during the same time period and analyze them. During two extensive field seasons (May to October) Orlich will spend as much time as possible in the full cycle of the melt-freeze in the Arctic. She hopes to work on multiple ships from a variety of countries so as to capture ice conditions in different regions of the Arctic, as well as work with numerous researchers who seek various datasets from their observation programs. This extensive collection will establish the base for a future archiving system that will serve the entire Arctic sea ice research community. Then she will create a standardized approach for ship-based sea ice observations in the Arctic, a system that as of date only exists for the Antarctic region. Orlich's goals are to continue working and learning in the polar regions. "For me, the greatest sense of accomplishment comes from intense field experiences that not only wrangle data for the continuation of knowledge and understanding of a phenomena, but also provide insight into the design and organization of the research itself," she said. "Before entering UAF, I was drawn to work in the U.S. Antarctic Program because, in addition to the romantic image I had of an extreme climate at the end of our Earth, I was mesmerized by the idea of the International Antarctic Treaty and what that meant for how that region was managed to serve the global scientific community. Now, working with arctic sea ice at the International Arctic Research Center on campus, I am positioned to participate in a very dynamic era of polar research."