ORNL researchers contribute to State Department's Arctic blog

Jul 11, 2016

ORNL's Peter Thornton, Stan Wullschleger and Kate Evans have written an entry for the State Department's "Our Arctic Nation" blog on Medium.com.

The blog, run by the Arctic Council of the State Department's Office of Oceans and Polar Affairs, invites individuals with personal or professional connection to the Arctic to contribute to raise awareness of U.S. interests and priorities in the region and reinforce the idea of the United States as an Arctic nation.


Sunrise in Barrow, Alaska.  Photo courtesy of Stan Wullschleger.

Their article, "Tennessee: Connected to the Arctic through Service & Science" explores the relationship between Tennessee and Alaska, two states thousands of miles apart, yet linked through public health outreach and climate change research.

The article covers some of the Arctic-focused research projects at ORNL and the scientists who spend countless hours in the Alaskan wilderness conducting fieldwork to understand the biology, hydrology and geology of the Arctic tundra.

Climate change scientists at ORNL use supercomputers such as Titan to model changes in soil, water and vegetation patterns based on subterranean ice growth and simulate the dynamic flows of ice sheets and glaciers in Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park. Researchers also work with native Alaskan populations to learn about the history of the land and chart changes over time to see how climate change will affect their livelihoods in the future.

The article also explains Tennesee's ethos and history as the "Volunteer State" and details the humanitarian work of Operation Arctic Care, a detachment of the Tennessee National Guard that provides free medical care to remote Alaskan communities.

Peter and Stan are scientists in the Energy & Environmental Sciences Directorate and Climate Change Science Institute, and Kate is the leader of the Computational Earth Sciences group.

Stan is also the national project director of the Arctic division of DOE's Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments. Peter is the leader of the Terrestrial Systems Modeling group and co-leader of the Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy Project.

Written by ORNL Communications