NSF invites media to apply to report from North Pole on climate research

March 19, 2004

The National Science Foundation (NSF) invites members of the news media to apply for the opportunity to report from the North Pole on a major scientific initiative to understand changes in atmospheric circulation and ocean currents near the Pole that scientists believe have far-reaching effects on global climate.

A thinning of the ice that covers the Arctic Ocean and shifts in ocean circulation appear to be caused by an alteration in the atmospheric circulation of the Northern Hemisphere--known as the Arctic Oscillation--which is broadly centered over the Arctic and the northern Atlantic Ocean. The Arctic Ocean circulation and the flowing of waters from the Arctic into the Greenland Sea affect the deep overturning circulation of the Northern Atlantic and play an important role in regulating the Earth's climate.

To better understand these changes and their implications for global climate, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is supporting a five-year, $3.9 million project, called the North Pole Environmental Observatory (NPEO).

The observatory is placed at a key location so that researchers may study the interplay of ocean currents as well as other factors related to climate change. For the fourth straight year, an international scientific team, including researchers from the University of Washington, will establish a temporary camp on the sea ice near the North Pole. The team will retrieve a mile-long mooring containing scientific instruments, insert buoys into the ice and sample the waters of the Arctic Ocean.

Logistical requirements severely limit the number of media who may be selected to report on this project. Although Polar conditions make exact planning difficult, media may expect to be at the Pole between April 19 and April 23, 2004. Those selected must make their own arrangements for traveling to Resolute, Canada. From Resolute, NSF will transport, house and feed selected media representatives until they return to Canada. NSF also will provide appropriate cold-weather gear.

A selection committee of NSF science and logistics personnel and media officers from NSF's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs will review all proposals and select finalists. The committee looks for proposals that indicate an understanding of the nature and challenges of NSF's scientific enterprise in the Arctic and the desire and ability to communicate that understanding to the public. U.S. mass media that serve primarily language-minority audiences are strongly encouraged to apply.

To apply, please submit a two-page (maximum) reporting plan that includes the journalistic goals expected to be achieved and the audience that the stories will reach to:

National Science Foundation
Office of Legislative and Public Affairs
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1245
Arlington, VA 22230
Attn: Peter West, 703-292-7761 / pwest@nsf.gov

Submissions must be postmarked no later than Thursday, April 1. E-mail submissions are acceptable and should be sent to the media officer listed above.
NSF is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5.58 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 40,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $200 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Receive official NSF news electronically through the e-mail delivery system, NSFnews. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to join-nsfnews@lists.nsf.gov. In the body of the message, type "subscribe nsfnews" and then type your name. (Ex.: "subscribe nsfnews John Smith")

Useful NSF Web Sites
NSF Home Page: http://www.nsf.gov/
News Highlights: http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa
Newsroom: http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/media/start.htm
Science Statistics: http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/stats.htm
Awards Searches: http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a6/A6Start.htm

National Science Foundation

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