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Ice Scientist

Katharine Giles



Physics, Mathematics and Design & Technology


Earth and Space Science (University College London)

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Katharine looks at what's going on at the Earth's Poles 

She has always been keen on adventures, and working in the freezing cold of the Antarctic has been one of her biggest so far. “Ever since I can remember I’ve always been interested in nature and the planet and so after my A-levels I studied Earth and Space Science at university.” 

Katharine now uses satellites to monitor the ice at the Earth’s poles to understand changes in our climate. “I’ve even been to visit NASA as well as the European Space Agency to learn about their satellites.”

To get the best results, she compares data from satellites with measurements she collects on the ice. “Doing experiments in the Antarctic has its own unique problems; the extreme cold stopped our generators and radar equipment from working and we resorted to the low tech solution of wrapping everything in a duvet.”

“Even getting to the ice was tough. During our month long voyage to the Antarctic, we faced storms with 60mph winds, waves 10m high and the only safe place was sitting on the floor. But seeing killer whales, emperor penguins and the endless blue sky made up for all of that; when I’m out on the ice it feels as if I am standing in the centre of a huge IMAX theatre with the sun, moon and clouds projected onto the dome above me. It’s truly breath-taking!”


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