Field Research

The slow traverse of Arctic lands enables Team GoNorth! along with students, teachers and learners of all ages to actively partake in validation of scientific research on climate change.

In collaboration with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) the expedition team will collect three forms of hydro-meteorological snow data to aid in filling the knowledge gaps about snow metamorphosis, as well as the ground-truthing of satellite images used in the development of climate change models.


In collaboration with Office of Polar Programs of the National Science Foundation (NSF) the team will observe, experience, and document Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). In recent years scientists have realized the importance of collecting TEK as a vital source of environmental information. Passed along, in oral tradition, from generation to generation for thousands of years, today TEK contributes greatly to the scientific understanding of the processes and patterns of recent climate change, and the impacts on various ecological and social issues within the scientific community.


In collaboration with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the expedition team will collect frozen feces from wild animals along the expedition trail. Climate change is altering the ecology of infectious agents and driving the emergence of disease in people, domestic animals, and wildlife. This research is to investigate the impact of climate warming on development rates and availability of an important parasitic nematode, to further understand responses to climate change of host-parasite systems, in the Arctic and globally. USDA is also a partner in the effort on collecting hydro-meteorological data.


In collaboration with the University of Washington, Department of Atmospheric Sciences and the Soot In Arctic Snow Project, the Team will collect snow samples to test for sot along the the expedition trail. The preference is for snow samples to be taken during March-May (i.e., near the time of maximum snow depth) so the snow samples will be taken at several vertical levels through the snow pack.  At the end of the expedition, the snow samples will be stored in a freezer for future analysis. The snow will be melted and filtered; the filters are then analyzed for light transmission at four wavelengths to separate the contributions to absorption by soot and dust. The snow must be kept frozen
until immediately before filtering, to avoid losses of soot to the container walls and to avoid algal growth.