The Byrd Polar Research Center (BPRC) is currently comprised of eight research groups. Scientists within these groups are world-renowned experts from the Physical and Earth Science disciplines. BPRC scientists conduct expeditions, lead laboratory research, and act as university professors and graduate student advisors.
Much of the research findings generated at BPRC is information related to global climate change. Currently, our scientists are highly involved in efforts to explain and expand our understanding of global climate change. Visit the Media Room to learn more.
This website will provide information about the four research groups (at left) that work to understand and explain global climate change. Other researchers at BPRC also contribute to our understanding of global climate change and a description of their work will be added to this site at a later date.
Major research themes at this time are focused on:
- Reconstructing climate history from glacial and post-glacial times
- Understanding polar ice sheets, including their movements and history
- Understanding interactions that occur between ice and the atmosphere at the poles
- Studying the evolution of landforms and soils
- Studying the movement of water in the polar regions
- Understanding nearshore and coastal oceanography
- Describing the chemistry in environmental processes
- Discovering the geologic history of Antarctica
- Maintaining a history of polar exploration
Around the World
Scientists at the Byrd Center have collected ice cores from glaciers in Greenland, Asia, North and South America, Africa, and Antarctica. Rocks, fossils, and sediments gathered from field locations also provide other types of important evidence for much older changes in climate.
Other environmental studies include programs in the dry valleys of Antarctica, Alaska, and the alpine regions of New Zealand, Panama, Costa Rica, and Taiwan.
The study of ecosystems (ecology) requires the analysis of interactions between the living things, the rocks and soil, the water, and the air.
Computer models use data obtained from a variety of sources to describe modern processes such as the motion of the great ice sheets, the dynamics of the coastal zones, global sea level rise, changes in water flow around the globe (?global hydrologic fluxes?), and the circulation of storm systems around Antarctica.
In addition, sensors that are carried by satellites, airplanes, buoys, and other platforms, are capable of imaging Earth’s surface through cloud cover, darkness, and thick layers of ice.