Sandra Thornton: Preparing for The Chukchi Sea Borderlands Expedition, June 23, 2016.

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Sandra Thornton

(Soon to be) Aboard USCGC Healy

July 1, 2016 – August 11, 2016

Mission:  Chukchi Sea Borderland

Geographical Area of Cruise:  Chukchi Sea Borderland (CBL)

Date:  Thursday, June 23, 2016

Weather Data from the Bridge: Today I am reporting from Wachapreague, Virginia where it is stormy and humid with an expected high temperature of 82 F.

Science and Technology Log

I will soon be working with a group of researchers, including Dr. Katrin Iken and Dr. Russell Hopkroft, aboard the USCGC Healy. The team will be working in the Chukchi Sea Borderlands (CBL) area. In this area, water masses from the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic oceans meet. Over past decades, the CBL has seen dramatic summer sea ice meltdowns, and scientists want to find out how this affects marine communities in the area. Researchers will be exploring a wide range of organisms and parameters during the expedition, including microbes, marine mammals, sea ice, seafloor, and chemistry.  Of special interest is the use of an ROV during the expedition.

Photo by Bill Schmoker; courtesy of ARCUS/PolarTREC.

Personal LogS. Thornton preparing for an Arctic expedition.

My home is located on the small strip of land that separates the Chesapeake Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. These marine resources have a strong impact on residents of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and I am excited to be able to compare Arctic ecosystems to those of coastal Virginia. I teach high school science courses at Broadwater Academy, and I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with my students and others in my community.


Did You Know?

The USCGC Healy is an icebreaker that can break through 1.4m of ice (4.6 feet) when traveling at a speed of 3 knots and 2.44m (8 feet) of ice when backing and ramming. The Healy was built to provide support for research in Polar regions as well as “traditional” duties including search and rescue and ship escort.

To read more about this cruise and my adventure, visit 

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