Principle #7: New technologies, sensors and tools — as well as new applications of existing technologies — are expanding scientists’ abilities to study the land, ice, ocean, atmosphere and living creatures of the Polar Regions.

An icon image of an underwater robotic glider

7A: Historically, Polar explorers took photographs and collected observational data (primarily atmospheric and meteorological observations) at various intervals during explorations to the Poles, providing a discrete understanding of the Poles.

7B: Today, scientists use satellites, drifting buoys, tethered buoys, subsea observatories, unmanned vehicles, automated weather stations, sensors, ice cores, airplanes, helicopters, magnetometers and more to constantly and remotely study the Poles.

  • 7B-1: This baseline information is coupled with regular scientific explorations to the Poles to collect samples and measurements, including photographic evidence.

7C: Piecing together historical data recorded by early explorers with ice cores and sediment cores gives scientists an understanding of natural history.

  • 7C-1: Combining current data with historical data, scientists can construct models to understand connections in the past and improve predictions of future environmental conditions at the Poles.

7D: Antarctica’s high elevation and dry atmosphere allow measurements of cosmic microwave background (fossil light from the early universe).

7E: Scientists measure the ice and snow levels over many decades to observe the impact of climate change in the Arctic landscape.

7F:  Scientists are gathering genetic information across a range of Polar species, from DNA to the broad ecosystem.

  • Genomic sequencing of polar species provides insight into complex biological processes and biotechnological exploitation (development of new drugs, bioremediation, food systems, etc.)