From the Arctic Ocean

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 15, 2005

While his students looked for a place to hide during one of the hottest days of the year Tuesday in Suffolk, King’s Fork High School oceanography teacher Steve Marshall tried to stay warm.

Half a globe away on a U.S. Coast Guard Ship northwest of Alaska in the Arctic Ocean, as a member of the Teacher and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating program, Marshall helped scientists take core samples from sheets of ice and the ocean floor to learn about climate changes. Back in Suffolk on their last day of school, students from all three of the city’s public high schools spoke to him on a satellite phone link.

As they checked out photos of Marshall’s adventure, some of which showed huge blocks of ice littering the ocean, while others displayed the 420-foot boat carrying him through the icy water, King’s Fork students chatted with their teacher.

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&uot;I’ve never seen anything like this before,&uot; said sophomore Ramone Worthington. &uot;I figured that this would give me a heads up for oceanography next year.&uot;

With photos showing him modeling the latest in Arctic Ocean summer sportswear-layers of sweatshirts-Marshall talked about his trip.

&uot;We usually eat breakfast between seven and eight in the morning,&uot; Marshall said when asked to describe his daily routine. &uot;We can spend an hour on the Internet and we watch movies at night.&uot;

That is, when they’re not at science meetings. Until June 26, Marshall and his fellow teachers and scientists will zigzag through water as deep as 8,300 feet, gathering rock samples from the water and taking several cores from the ocean floor. The samples will help to determine any movements of the Earth’s crust and provide information on climate changes.

&uot;Our overall objective is to learn about the climate system,&uot; he said.

&uot;We’d like to find out how changes occur over several hundreds and thousands of years. The Arctic Ocean is one of the Earth’s main refrigerators for heat. It’s important that the Earth loses heat, or it could heat up too rapidly.&uot;

In an earlier statement, he’d outlined the importance of finding out the future of the planet’s climate activity.

&uot;If we can more accurately predict climate change,&uot; Marshall said, &uot;we will know if we need to plan for another ice age in a hundred or thousand years, or if we will have oceanfront property in our own backyard due to the melting of the ice caps.&uot;