Rebecca Woodgate

Polar research, with special focus on the circulation of the Arctic Ocean, interactions between sea-ice and the ocean, and and the role of the polar oceans in climate.

OCEAN 235: Arctic Change

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Arctic is no longer remote.  Arctic sea-ice loss, shipping through the legendary Northwest Passage, the international land-grab for the North Pole and the Arctic sea floor, Arctic oil and gas exploration, the fate of the polar bear – these and more are all household terms.  Yet, many people’s understanding of this system and the reality of the issues is based primarily on news and media coverage.  The UW houses a remarkably wide range of world-class Arctic research – this course will access that knowledge base and provide an interdisciplinary, science-based introduction to Arctic science and topical world issues that are at the forefront of understanding how the Arctic works today, how the Arctic is changing, and what impacts those changes may have on us.

     We will investigate the Arctic ocean, ice and atmosphere system; Arctic ecosystems from the “charismatic megafauna” (polar bears and more) to the (not so charismatic?) microbes that exist inside the matrix structure of sea-ice; and how humans interact with the Arctic system.  We will study how we got to know what we know, how we advance our knowledge now, and how Arctic studies may look in the future.  We will consider how the components interact, how they are changing, what the future may hold, and what international governments are squabbling over at the minute.  We will include guest lectures by internationally recognized UW experts in a wide range of fields.

     The course is offered at the 200 level, to interest both those considering a major in science and those who seek a topical course to fulfill an out-of-option requirement.  It will provide a level of understanding suitable for those going onto a career in many non-science fields, including education, government advising, and Arctic-relevant industry.  It will also provide a science introduction that may spark enthusiasm for a major in science.
       This course is offered at the 2-credit and 3-credit level, the 3-credit version including extra science content.  Students seeking an introduction to the material with a smaller commitment of time are recommended to take the 2-credit version.  The course is a core course of UW's new Arctic Studies Minor, and to qualify for the Arctic Minor, this course should be taken at the 3-credit level.

High Latitude Dynamics

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Oceanographic observational techiques can be applied under the ice-covered Arctic Ocean, to study the properties, circulation and change of the Arctic Ocean.  For more information, see our High Latitude Dynamics website, part of UW-APL's Polar Science Center.

OCEAN 508-482 The Changing Arctic Ocean

Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  • Recent years show unprecedented change in the ice-covered Arctic Ocean.
  • What is currently known about the complex Arctic Ice-Ocean system and the ecosystems it supports?
  • What will be the impacts of continuing change within and beyond the Arctic?

In this interdisciplinary course, we will explore the interacting physical, chemical and biological components of the Arctic System, including:
- riddles of Arctic Ocean circulation
- defining roles of the sea-ice cover
- likely shifts in nutrient regimes and ecosystems
- and recent explorations of the seafloor,
and consider the impacts of Arctic Change on global climate, native communities, and future exploitation of an ice-free summer ocean.

The aims of the course are to develop:
- an understanding of how the Arctic ocean system works
- an understanding of observed and potential changes in the Arctic and impacts of these changes in the Arctic and beyond
- an appreciation of why we should care about Arctic Change.

Skill development: To thrive in research (and other careers) needs skills beyond scientific data analysis, for example:
- discerning inquiry
- coherent communication (written and oral)
- competence in more than one discipline.
Homework and class assignments will be aimed at developing these skills, and the art/science of productive scientific debate.

Interdisciplinary special topics 3 credit graduate course offered in Spring 2012 by Jody Deming and Rebecca Woodgate.
Graduates should register for Ocean 506. 
Advanced undergraduates may register for Ocean 497 with instructor approval.