UW duo try to crack ice mysteries at talk

POULSBO — Ice caps. Polar ice sheets. Floating pack ice.

While these aren’t formations that can be found anywhere near Liberty Bay, they have a very real connection to local waters.

With rising global climates, the affects of melting polar and antarctic ice are being felt around the globe — much like ice cubes melting and overflowing a glass of ice water.

“Global climate change is very much a topic of all our interest here and, of course, it’s ultimately tied to our oceans and our marine waters,” explained Marine Science Center executive director Sandra Kolb.

This development will be discussed as Dr. Edwin Waddington and Bob Hawley, both of the University of Washington, visit Poulsbo’s Marine Science Center this weekend. They will present “Our Future’s in Ice” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at the MSC.

Waddington and Hawley have both taken part in research in Antarctica and Greenland aimed at learning more about the Earth’s ice packs, rising sea levels, eroding coastlines and what the future may hold.

“I’m really excited about them coming,” Kolb commented.

Kolb secured the two speakers in January, when she was a volunteer for the center. She knew the two from her own experiences working in the Antarctic and polar region. Last year, Kolb presented a two-day workshop for educators on research in the Antarctic, at which Waddington and Hawley were presenters.

The two regularly make themselves available to classroom educators to do live feeds from their research for students.

“What people find interesting is the wealth of information we can find out about the past with ice cores,” Waddington said. “And if we really want to find out what’s going to happen in the future, we need to know about what happened in the past.”

Waddington, professor for the UW Department of Earth Sciences, has been working in Earth sciences since 1971 and became a research professor in 1998. He and his students closely study the behavior and evolution of polar ice sheets. Most recently, he spent January conducting research near the center of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Hawley, a graduate student at the UW department of Earth sciences, has been part of several research trips to both the Antarctic and Greenland. One notable trip, he served as chief science technician and camp medic as part of the first team to spend the winter at the summit of the Greenland ice sheet.

Due to limited space in the MSC auditorium, those interested in attending featured talks are asked to call ahead to reserve seating. An RSVP is not required but will guarantee the caller a space.

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