Kniya Duncan hasn’t been to Antarctica — but.
However the Binghamton College junior has studied ice from the Earth’s southernmost continent, sifting knowledge for clues as to when it was fashioned. A summer time analysis expertise for undergraduates (REU) at Tulane College, in collaboration with the College of Minnesota, gave her a head begin towards her future profession as a polar scientist.
In the course of the undertaking, related with the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, Duncan examined knowledge from ice cores taken on the Antarctic coast. Ice cores are precisely what the title implies: lengthy tubes of ice, created by drilling into the highest of a glacier, Duncan defined.
In contrast to rock, ice kinds shortly and may give perception into local weather shifts over the previous centuries, Duncan stated. Understanding these shifts is more and more essential in an period of local weather change.
“We’re in a position to take an ice core and see what’s occurring within the atmosphere. No matter is going on within the air will probably be deposited within the ice,” she stated.
Duncan labored on-line for the primary two weeks of the undertaking, after which spent a month conducting analysis at Tulane, alongside a lab mate. One other three weeks of distant knowledge evaluation adopted.
What the information finally confirmed was consistent with different data already obtainable on coastal ice cores. Whereas which may not appear thrilling at first look, knowledge akin to these comprise an essential a part of scientific analysis, Duncan defined. Coastal ice cores of this kind are uncommon; most ice core analysis in Antarctica is performed inland.
In brief, a agency basis of information permits researchers to find out whether or not future outcomes are uncommon, and what these uncommon outcomes may imply, she stated.
“It’ll act as preliminary knowledge for future full ice cores as a result of we didn’t get something loopy. You don’t need loopy ends in science on a regular basis,” she stated.
A Queens native, Duncan first found her curiosity in Earth science after taking a category in highschool.
“I had been debating doing chemistry or biology in faculty, after which I took Earth science and it was, ‘Nope, that is what I need to do. It’s rocks for all times,’” she recounted. “From then, I’ve simply been hooked.”
She spent her first yr as a university scholar at SUNY New Paltz, earlier than transferring to Binghamton as a sophomore. As a first-year scholar, she interviewed a number of individuals working in fields that her for a category task, together with College of Minnesota glaciologist Peter Neff after seeing his content material on TikTok, she stated. After the interview, they stayed in contact; when she talked about that she was in search of summer time analysis alternatives, he provided her the one at Tulane. The REU alternative was initially deliberate in the summertime of 2021, however the pandemic and Nationwide Science Basis funding pushed it off for a yr.
Neff launched her to Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies Molly Patterson, a fellow polar scientist conducting analysis on the Antarctic ice sheet. Duncan’s mentorship experiences have continued to guide her to new connections and alternatives, such because the convention on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet she attended in late September; the youngest individual there, Duncan offered a poster on their findings from Tulane.
College students taken with analysis shouldn’t be afraid to succeed in out to scientists of their discipline, she suggested.
“When you’re taken with any individual’s work or one thing they posted on-line, simply attain out to them. Discuss to them, message them,” she stated. “Even when they will’t enable you, somebody who they know could possibly.”
A significant focus for Antarctic and Southern Ocean analysis proper now’s to grasp previous modifications to ice sheets over a spread of timescales to higher perceive how these dynamics will play out sooner or later, Patterson stated. Below Patterson’s mentorship, Duncan is conducting analysis related to Worldwide Ocean Drilling Expedition 374 on geological information recovered from the Ross Sea area of the Antarctic. With that and her REU expertise over the summer time, Duncan is getting hands-on analysis expertise with various kinds of paleoclimate archives.
“The expertise with engaged on archives that concentrate on ice dynamic processes over the vary of timescales goes to supply her with such an incredible basis of data and hopefully an appreciation for occupied with processes over completely different timescales that can set her other than her friends and make her an especially aggressive applicant for graduate faculty,” Patterson stated. “Her wonderful perspective and work ethic additionally make her an absolute pleasure to work with.”
Duncan hopes to conduct analysis in Antarctica herself sometime and encourage the following technology of geoscientists fascinated by historic ice.
“Being a Black lady in geology is hard as it’s, however being a Black lady in polar science is even harder as a result of there are so few of us,” she mirrored. “I’m very grateful for the way far I’ve gotten as a younger Black lady in geoscience. I hope that, sooner or later, the individuals behind me can look to me and say, ‘Wow! She was in a position to accomplish this. I ought to be capable to accomplish this, too.’”
Leave a Reply