Research Programs and Facilities

The Byrd Polar & Climate Research Center currently has ten research groups, along with a Library, Archival Program, and the Polar Rock Repository. Select a research group to view more information about that group and to visit their website.

  • Environmental Geochemistry

    The Environmental Geochemistry Group collects and analyzes soil and water samples from many locations around the world to study biogeochemical cycles, anthropogenic influences on natural systems, and to use geochemistry as a tool to learn more about various hydrological, biological and physical processes.
  • Geological Sciences

    Researchers in the Geological Sciences Group have developed new theories on ice-sheet and climate history, glaciogenic sedimentary processes, and continental configurations during global tectonic reorganizations. Current research focuses on the tectonics and the history of Gondwana and Antarctic neotectonics and structural geology, including the Polar Earth Observing Network or POLENET.
  • Glacier Dynamics

    Researchers in the Glacier Dynamics Group are developing innovative methods for observing ongoing glacier change, through remote sensing and field measurements, and are using these observations to build quantitative models of ice flow. These models are then used to predict future changes to Earth’s ice masses under projected future climate change scenarios.
  • Glacier Environmental Change

    The Glacier Environmental Change Group researches patterns, processes, and impacts of environmental change, mostly in glaciated regions. The group integrates methods of glacial geology, climatology, hydrology, and biogeochemistry. Specializing in tropical mountain regions, they study sites along the entire American Cordillera, in Africa, and in Central Ohio.
  • Ice Core Paleoclimatology

    The Ice Core Paleoclimatology Group’s primary objective is the acquisition of a global array of ice cores providing climatic and environmental histories. Ice core records make it possible to study processes linking the Polar Regions to the lower latitudes where human activities are most intense and contributes prominently to reconstructing Earth’s paleoclimate record.
  • Paleoceanography

    The Paleoceanography Group uses information gathered from sea floor sediments to discover how changes in circulation, temperature, sea ice, and glacier mass have affected the global climate system throughout Earth’s history. These data from the past are used to assess present and future climate changes.
  • Polar Biogeochemistry

    The Polar Biogeochemistry Group examines the diverse interactions between biological and geological components within alpine and polar ecosystems.
  • Polar Meteorology

    In the Polar Meteorology Group, researchers explore the weather and climate of the Arctic and Antarctic. They do so using direct meteorological observations (often sparse in these areas) and computer models that reproduce the complex behavior of the atmosphere.
  • Satellite Hydrology

    The team of researchers in the Satellite Hydrology Group use measurements made with spaceborne instruments to study rivers, lakes, wetlands, floodplains, and snowpack. This group uses passive and active microwave measurements, such as radar, to better quantify the amount of water stored in various Earth systems.
  • Library and Archives

    The Goldthwait Polar Library (PLR) contains materials relevant to the polar and alpine regions of the world, including extensive collections on glaciology, polar meteorology, glacial geology, remote sensing and paleoclimatology. The BPCRC Archival Program is a collaborative effort of BPCRC and The Ohio State University Libraries. Its mission is to collect, preserve, and provide access to historical documents concerned with the Polar Regions.
  • Polar Rock Repository (PRR)

    The Polar Rock Repository is the only facility of its kind in the United States, the PRR houses rock sample collections from Antarctica obtained by U.S. scientists over the past 60+ years. The samples, of which there are more than 42,000, are available for use by researchers, educators, and museums.