James France

What do you do?

I work in the Roland von Glasow Sea Ice Facility at the University of East Anglia as Scientific Coordinator. My expertise is in Snow & Atmospheric Chemistry. Research in this area is very important, the whole of the Arctic is changing considerably. There is a change from multi-year ice, where ice stays and is added to each year, to a single-year regime, where ice grows and melts away again the following season. I work in a lab that has a shipping container converted into a chamber capable of producing temperatures of -38°C to do sea ice research inexpensively. This allows us to investigate the optical properties of sea ice as it grows. We will also gain an understanding of how the optical properties of really young fresh ice is different. This impacts how much heat is transmitted through the ice, changing conditions below the ice for photosynthetic algae and other organisms that live in the water.

What can you see?

A picture showing the chamber where the optical property of the ice is researched.

The white light is produced by multicoloured LED lights behind a diffuser that accurately reproduces visible light wavelengths. Importantly, this is powerful enough to simulate arctic light for arctic organisms such as diatoms and algae. There are HD cameras above and below the ice. The top camera records the whole experiment, which can produce time-lapse, stills, or live video. The blue cable on the right leads to a Fibre Optic sensor measuring surface reflectivity. Light measuring sensors are the rectangles attached to the middle pole. There is also a Fibre optic sensor with a black top behind the middle pole that also measures incoming radiation, but very accurately to nanometres. There is a green temperature chain just behind the central pole that records the temperature of the ice every 2cm. Not every instrument will be used in experiments but allows researchers to tailor what measurements they might want to use. All of this can be controlled from outside the chamber.

When I’m not in the lab I…

Away from lab I like to play football, I’m a crystal palace fan, which has been interesting this year! I’m into a lot sports like golf or rugby league. So if I’m not on the computer, I’m playing or at a stadium.

Leave a Reply