Chris Linder Photography

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BROMEX (BRomine, Ozone, and Mercury EXperiment)

In March 2012, a NASA-led team of researchers from over a dozen different institutions traveled to Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost city in the United States, to study the interaction between Arctic Ocean sea ice and the chemistry of the air above it. When the long hours of daylight return to the Arctic in spring, the chemistry of the air changes. Through a combination of sea salt, sunlight, and extremely cold air, bromine is released into the air in a series of chemical reactions known as a 'bromine explosion'. As a result, tropospheric ozone is destroyed and mercury can deposit on sea ice and snow. In the last decade, Arctic sea ice has dramatically declined in extent, thickness, and age. How will these changes affect the intensity and frequency of bromine explosions? I photographed the researchers deploying a suite of air chemistry instruments on the sea ice and the tundra near Barrow. The work (both science & photography) was hampered by temperatures that hovered around -30F.

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