Polar Scientist in the Spotlight

Learn about all sorts of careers that polar scientists have as we explore their different research areas through the featured Polar Scientist of the Month.

Cristina Schultz

PhD Student, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

What do you do?

Biogeochemical modeling of the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP). I am trying to understand how this ecosystem responds to changes in climate, and how much of the extra carbon we put in the atmosphere is impacting it.


What is the best thing about your job?

Thinking about a cool place like Antarctica most of the day.

What is the most important tool you use for research?

A computer! Ocean models are made of equations that reflect how we think things work in the ocean. They can simulate the circulation, the ecosystem and the chemistry of the ocean, and how they interact with each other. I use computer models to test whether the theories we have of how the ocean works matches the data we collect in that region. Once we test that the models match the data, we can also begin to understand what happens when we are not there collecting data, which is important given we can’t be in Antarctica year round due to severe weather and sea ice.

Why is what you do important?

We need to understand the effect we have on our planet and the consequences of global warming, so that we can be prepared for what the future holds. Understanding the climate, ecosystem and chemistry changes in Antarctica is an important piece of the puzzle.

Polar ICE