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Climate Change and the Atmosphere: Greenland Ice Sheet

May 20 – June 10, 2006 | Summit, Greenland


Click here to read teacher's journals, ask questions, or view photo galleries.


Listen to the following sounds recorded around Summit, Greenland by Mr. McMahon and try to guess what they are. Check your guesses by looking at the answer sheet.

Sound #1
sound #2 Sound #2
sound #3 Sound #3
sound #4 Sound #4
sound #5 Sound #5
sound #6 Sound #6
sound #7 Sound #7
sound #8 Sound #8
sound #9 Sound #9

TREC Podcasts!
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Kevin McMahon
Renfroe Middle School
Decatur, Georgia
Mike Bergin
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, Georgia

Summit Greenland
TREC teacher Nikki Airaudi and research technician Meg collect snow samples while wearing clean suits to avoid contaminations.
Photo by Nikki Airaudi, Courtesy of ARCUS

The Greenland Ice Sheet holds a potential wealth of information on the history of the atmosphere. Traveling to a remote field site in Summit, Greenland, teacher Kevin McMahon and researcher Mike Bergin studied particulate organic compounds that cover the Ice Sheet. Currently in its second year of study, this project investigated the wealth of information contained in the Ice Sheet and will help determine links between climate change and changes in atmospheric makeup. This research could possibly open the door for studies that address the historical sources and impacts of airborne pollutants based on the concentrations of specific organic compounds deposited in snow.

Kevin McMahon is a 6th grade earth science teacher at Renfroe Middle School located in Decatur, Georgia. He originally practiced law at a large Atlanta law firm but soon realized that was not where his passion lies. Kevin went back to school at Emory University and received his Master of Arts in Teaching degree, with a primary concentration in science. With scientific interests including global warming and astronomy, Kevin has dedicated himself to helping his students become scientific problem solvers. Kevin is very excited about being able to bring this scientific research directly back to his classroom and community. He is also looking forward to debunking the notion that scientists are wild-haired guys in white lab coats mixing chemicals in a test tube. Kevin has been selected both as a TREC teacher and as a Georgia Intern-Fellowships for Teachers (GIFT) Fellow. GIFT fosters teaching based on inquiry, problem solving and "real world" relevance, as well as promoting an increase in student inquiry skills and positive attitudes toward the sciences and mathematics.

Mike Bergin is an Assistant Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. His research interests include the formation, transport, and deposition of airborne compounds that have an influence on climate, as well as paleoclimate (prehistoric climate) studies based on ice core chemistry. Mike is looking forward to hosting a TREC teacher to help him learn how to communicate his research more efficiently and effectively to the public.

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