Barrow 2013

Barrow 2013 is an educational prototype under the larger pedagogic topic called Active-Learning Curriculum.

The  goal  of  the project  is  to  prepare  the  next  generation with  critical-thinking  and dynamic-decision-making skills needed to understand a changing environmental world.

This specific prototype leverages extreme conditions experienced during polar field work.  For effectiveness, we choose one of the most rapidly changing large-scale surface areas on the Earth, namely, the Arctic sea ice.

Scaling the topic down to a curriculum level, this project focuses on the need for increased accuracy of sea ice thickness so that decision making can move from the debate of “the climate is changing?” to adaptation in a changing world.

To keep the topic manageable,students learn how easy it is to detect sea ice loss, and then subsequently, how difficult it is to quantify the changes and more importantly the impacts to human infrastructure and sustainability.

Because access to sea ice is so limited, especially for students, we confine our studies to the seemingly simple problem of quantifying the relationship between

    point samples,
    profile transects,
    swath observations, and
    gridded imagery analysis (the so-called up-scaling problem).

MERLIN’s research efforts integrate information between ground-truth support and underwater, airborne, and spaceborne platforms engaged in sea ice monitoring.


Featured Faculty

Cathleen Geiger

Cathleen Geiger picture

Research Professor Geography


CEOE School & Departments

School of Marine Science & Policy

Advancing the understanding, stewardship, and conservation of estuarine, coastal, and ocean environments.

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Department of Geological Sciences

Discovering how geological processes have operated over various time scales to create and influence the planet’s surface environments.

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Department of Geography

Investigating the interactions between people and the environment and the processes that explain the location of human and natural phenomena.

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College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment • 111 Robinson Hall • Newark, DE 19716 • USA • Phone: 302-831-2841
Geography: 302-831-2294 • Geology: 302-831-2569 • Marine Science and Policy: 302-645-4212 • E-mail:

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