Contact: Peter West
National Science Foundation

An international scientific team, including researchers from the University of Washington supported by NSF’s Office of Polar Programs, will establish a temporary camp on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean in early April to maintain and upgrade a system of data collection tools that are providing weather, oceanographic and other data about the Arctic as part of a five-year project.

Observations have shown that in recent years a rapid thinning of sea ice and shifts in ocean circulation have occurred in the Arctic Ocean. These changes appear to be related to a pattern of change in the atmospheric circulation of the Northern Hemisphere — known as the Arctic Oscillation — which is roughly centered at the North Pole. The Arctic Ocean circulation and the flowing of waters from the Arctic into the Greenland Sea affect the deep overturning circulation of the Atlantic Ocean and thus play an important role in regulating the Earth’s climate.

To convey the significance of the science conducted at the North Pole to the widest possible cross-section of the public, NSF will select a small group of journalists, representing diverse audiences, to visit the station for several days.

Interested reporters must submit a reporting plan that explains their professional interest in visiting the station. A committee of Arctic science and logistics personnel and media officers from NSF’s Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA) will select this season’s media visitors. Competition is expected to be intense for two media slots.

Application: Applications that indicate a solid working knowledge of NSF’s Arctic science programs and the science they support stand the best chance of selection. US media receive preference.

Expenses: Reporters or their employers pay for round-trip transportation to — and accommodations in — Scotia, NY. Program participants will fly from the N.Y. Air National Guard base in Scotia to Alert in Canada and then to the Pole. NSF will furnish some limited cold-weather clothing solely for use in the field and will pay the costs of housing, transportation and food in the field.

Medical: Finalists must pass a physical exam conducted at their own expense by their personal physicians and subject to screening by NSF.

How To Apply: Phone or e-mail the contact listed below as soon as possible to express interest. Reporting plans should be submitted in a short letter — preferably no longer than two pages. Freelancers must supply evidence of a firm commitment to publish or air their work on their prospective employer’s letterhead.

Deadline: Written requests must be received no later than March 15, 2001. NSF will notify those who are selected — and those who are not — as soon as possible.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting written requests from professional journalists to visit its North Pole Environmental Observatory in April 2001.

Send the letter and any supporting materials such as a limited number of clips or videotaped segments to:

National Science Foundation
Office of Legislative and Public Affairs
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1245
Arlington, VA 22230
Attn: Peter West, 703-292-8070

For background about NSF’s Arctic Program, see:
For background on the North Pole Environmental Observatory, see: