@UCSD: An Alumni Publication

An Alumni Publication   Archive vol1no3 Contact
Up Front: Letters to and from the editor
Campus Currents: UCSD Stories
Shelf Life: Books
Cliff Notes: Student life and sports
Class Notes: Alumni profiles
Campaign Update: Imagine the Future
Looking Back: Thoughts on UCSD
Credits: Staff and Contributors
Features
The Places He Did Go
Buried Cities of Iraq
UCSD Admissions
A Poet In The Park
Making Waves

Antipodal Antics
One That Got Away
Oscar and Gollum
Library On The Loose
Making Nice With Mice

Archive

May 2004: Volume 1, Number 2
   

TRITON TIDBITS FROM CAMPUS AND BEYOND

May 2004
Antipodal Antics

 
     

UCSD Physical Sciences

The South Pole at Christmas? We know Tritons like to buck the trend, but isn't that the wrong pole for Santa season?

Apparently not for Mark Thiemens (right of South Pole), the dean of physical sciences. Along with Justin McCabe (left of South pole), a graduate student, and Joel Savarino, a post doc, Thiemens braved temperatures of minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit to drill three tons of ice samples for study in the lab at UCSD. The hope is to better understand the behavior of the Antarctic polar vortex, the whirlpool of extremely cold stratospheric air that forms over the region during the long winter and contributes to the formation of
the Antarctic ozone hole.

Since ozone has a unique isotopic signature, changes in ozone levels are recorded in the oxygen isotopes that ultimately end up in the ice. NASA satellites have been able to observe the vortex directly since the 1970s. Thiemen's team therefore wanted to retrieve ice laid down before those satellite observations. The first samples took them “back as far as Motown,” Thiemens says, “but not as far back as Elvis.” Subsequent drilling by the graduate students took them back to the turn of the last century. So maybe going to the South Pole at Christmas is not as far out in the ozone as we think.

RELATED LINKS

UCSD Division of Physical Sciences
VIEW

Message from Mark Thiemens, Physical Sciences Dean
VIEW

"Since ozone has a unique isotopic signature, changes in ozone levels are recorded in the oxygen isotopes that ultimately end up in the ice."