ABOUT Liz O´Connell

Avatar of Liz O´Connell

Liz is a media artist and wannabe scientist who loves the Alaskan frontier.


Liz O´Connell: All Posts


Seeing sea ice formation

Posted 26 January 2016 by Liz O´Connell

The structure of an ice core tells a story about its life cycle; you can take a look and read it like a timeline. Geophysicist Andy Mahoney, assistant research professor in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, extracted a sea ice core offshore from Barrow, Alaska. He described how sea ice takes form. When a freeze begins in open water it creates a mixture of grainy ice crystals suspended near the surface of the water, not yet solidified into... Read more

Arctic Research with UAVs

Posted 20 January 2016 by Liz O´Connell

Scientists in Alaska are exploring new research approaches using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Flying technological tools map sea ice terrain in the Beaufort Sea and spot sea otters' prey in Kachemak Bay. Explore this groundbreaking science in new videos 'Mapping Ice Trails By UAV' and 'UAV Over Otters' at FrontierScientists.com. On #ArcticMatters Day, visitors to the Frontier Scientists table were able to try out our in-development mobile game app, UAV Challenge. UAV Challenge is abstractly based on real research missions executed... Read more

Play UAV game app at Arctic Matters Day

Posted 12 January 2016 by Liz O´Connell

Are you attending #ArcticMatters Day? Frontier Scientists (@FrontierSi) will be. On January 14, 2016, visit our table and try your hand at UAV Challenge- An Alaska Game App. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Challenge mobile game app aims to inspire interest about real science and research opportunities in Alaska. UAV Challenge is a series of missions abstractly based on real research missions executed by the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration ACUASI program. Before, during, or after successfully completing a... Read more

The future for thawing permafrost on Alaska’s North Slope

Posted 5 January 2016 by Liz O´Connell

Permafrost, subsurface soil that remains frozen throughout the year, can be found on Alaska's North Slope and in places across the Arctic. “The temperature of permafrost is rapidly changing,” said Vladimir Romanovsky, Geophysics professor and head of the Permafrost Laboratory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. In the very near past when Vladimir Romanovsky was asked to predict what will happen to permafrost he'd have noted that North Slope permafrost is very cold. "During this century, nothing would... Read more

El Niño, atmospheric rivers and distant weather

Posted 29 December 2015 by Liz O´Connell

El Nino is a natural phenomenon in which changing ocean temperatures occur alongside changes in atmospheric circulation and rainfall. It's irregular; every 2-7 years ocean waters near the tropical Pacific cycle between warm El Nino or cold La Nina conditions. Though the tropical Pacific may seem far away, the resulting changes in ciruclation do impact Alaska and other Northern Hemisphere locations. The cycling pattern is also known as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), or the ENSO Cycle. Jon Gottschalck, Acting... Read more

Ten science conference tidbits

Posted 24 December 2015 by Liz O´Connell

FrontierScientists @FrontierSi attended the annual American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting where Earth and Space scientists share their findings December 14-18, 2015. We were pleased to present about techniques for #sharingscience; science communication is a vital part of how science fits into and benefits society. During the presentation we were joined by Nagruk Harcharek, featured in FrontierScientists video 'First Year Or Multi Year Ice' giving his perspective. Nagruk Harcharek is the Operations Manager at UIC Science in Barrow, Alaska. In the... Read more

Rough but not too rough sea ice

Posted 15 December 2015 by Liz O´Connell

The scientists snapped small icicles off the underside of a chunk of sea ice that had been broken away from its pack and rafted up onto the edge of another ice floe. Andrew Mahoney, geophysicist and assistant research professor in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, explained the icicles would taste incredibly salty. "It isn’t dripping because it is melting," Mahoney said. Instead gravity was forcing salty liquid brine out of the ice. "When it comes into contact with... Read more

Science Conference sessions online

Posted 15 December 2015 by Liz O´Connell

December 14-18, 2015 FrontierScientists is at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting where Earth and Space scientists present their work. You can experience some #AGU15 #science from home – catch free on demand conference sessions using instructions found here: https://fallmeeting.agu.org/2015/files/2015/11/AGU-On-Demand-channel-listing.pdf . As long as we're linking science, you can also visit NOAA's newly released 2015 Arctic Report Card for details on a changing Arctic http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/. Even if your home is far from the North, remember: 'What happens in the Arctic... Read more

Drilling sea ice– extracting a sea ice core

Posted 8 December 2015 by Liz O´Connell

Geophysicist Andy Mahoney balanced a cylinder of ice on the top of his boot for a moment as he extracted it from a drill barrel. The balancing act kept loose snow lying on top of the sea ice Mahoney stood on from attaching itself to the extracted ice's surface. The ice core looked like art: layers contrasted with other layers one atop another, and bubbles were suspended within the ice. The extracted ice core will help Mahoney understand the sea... Read more

Standing on the Beaufort Sea – new sea ice videos

Posted 2 December 2015 by Liz O´Connell

Whether from the perspective of a helicopter pilot, a research scientist, or a local whale hunter, sea ice is an impactful part of Arctic life. Visit Frontier Scientists to watch new videos: 'Barrow Ready Waiting', 'Buoys On Ice', 'Standing on the Beaufort Sea', and 'First Year Or Multi Year Ice'. Geophysicist Andy Mahoney, assistant research professor at University of Alaska Fairbanks, gathers data to refine our understanding of Arctic sea ice. "It's a mind-boggling and humbling terrain," he told Frontier... Read more