Melt Ponds & Snow Studies (Chris Polashenski)

Video Shot in: 2023

Chris Polashenski, a scientist focusing on Arctic sea ice, discusses his work in the context of climate change. His career primarily revolves around improving future climate predictions by targeting weak areas in existing models. He collaborates with the National Center for Atmospheric Research to identify aspects of the models that need refinement. Polashenski’s work has significantly focused on melt ponds—pools that form on sea ice, darken it, and accelerate melting by absorbing more sunlight. His efforts have involved observational campaigns to understand the evolution of melt ponds, initially in Barrow and later expanded across the Arctic using remote sensing technologies. Polashenski has also shifted his focus to other areas like snow on sea ice and its insulating properties, as well as the mechanical properties of ice, distinguishing between the resistance to fracturing in first-year ice and multi-year ice. These research initiatives are geared toward enhancing the accuracy of climate models, thereby helping in better predicting and understanding the rapid environmental changes occurring in the Arctic.