Dr. Don Perovich


Don Perovich is a sea ice geophysicist, currently working as a Professor in Engineering at Dartmouth College. 

He worked for many decades at the Cold Regions Research Engineering Laboratory of the U.S. Army, in Hanover N.H.  He is an expert in sea ice dynamics, and observations of change in Arctic sea ice over, often using sea ice mass balance techniques.  His group has been studying changes in albedo, and the sea ice albedo feedback as an important component of climate change impacts in the Arctic.  His interests have expanded to understanding how these changes impact the Arctic ecosystem, including the impact of increases sunlight penetration on Arctic Ocean phytoplankton.



Sea ice geophysicist Dr. Don Perovich discusses the changing conditions of the Arctic Ocean and the impact it is having on human activities. Dr. Perovich highlights the evolution of predictions around the Arctic becoming ice-free in the summer, with some projections indicating it could happen as early as 2013 or never. However, he notes that the more relevant question is when the reduction of sea ice in September will be large enough to impact human activity, as this is already happening. The conversation then turns to the potential impacts of these changes on weather and climate in other parts of the world, with Dr. Perovich noting that while there are some potential effects, it is a complex topic that requires further study and exploration through models.

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Dr. Don Perovich, sea ice geophysicist at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, New Hampshire, is primarily interested in sea ice, specifically the optical properties of sea ice and the heat and mass balance of sea ice. He has been studying sea ice for almost 30 years. Dr. Perovich was inspired to study glaciology and sea ice research after a conversation with a faculty member during his PhD studies at the University of Washington. His interest in sea ice has shifted over the years. Early in his career, he was supported by the Office of Naval Research, which was mainly interested in the Arctic because the Navy wanted to understand anything related to oceans. Later on, the National Science Foundation started to get interested in the planet’s ice cover, mainly because of its role in climate change. The ice cover is a proxy indicator of climate change, and his research focuses on the ice Albedo feedback.

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Sea ice geophysicist Don Perovich notes that there are many different ways to define the Arctic, but what sets it apart is the perennial presence of ice, which includes sea ice in the ocean, large ice sheets on Greenland, glaciers around the entire Arctic, and permafrost frozen ground. He emphasizes that as the ice starts to melt, it changes the fundamental nature of the Arctic and its ecosystem. Perovich shares his experience with a program called ICECAPE, which aims to understand the impact of changing ice conditions on the changing biology and biogeochemistry of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. He also talks about his most memorable field experiment, the Sheba experiment (Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean), which involved freezing an icebreaker into the pack and letting it drift for a year to measure every parameter of the Sheba column. Perovich shares anecdotes about his time on the ship and his encounters with polar bears.

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