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Scientists at the Division of Polar Climate Sciences conduct research on the interactions between components of climate system, and the climate change processes in the troposphere and the stratosphere based on a variety of in-site observations at polar regions and climate models. They also study the physical phenomena in the polar mesosphere and thermosphere (above and altitude of 60 km ) such as aurora and the effect of the changes of the space environment, including the sun on human activities
The Polar Earth-System Science Division studies the evolution of polar tectonic settings and the geological environment.
In addition, the Division reconstructs the past Earth, observes the present Earth, and predicts the future Earth based on research on Antarctic meteorites and space materials, the Antarctic–Australian Central Ridge, and the Arctic underwater resource environment.
The Polar Life Science Division conducts studies to understand the unique biological phenomena and environmental adaptation mechanism of polar living organisms to realize their value as a useful biological resource for the next generation.
It also conducts basic research on biodiversity and evolution, polar environmental impact monitoring, and ecosystem operation principles, as well as develops ecosystem-modeling technologies to identify the influence of environmental changes caused by global climate change on the polar ecosystem to predict the proper responses to them. It carries out a study on developing new biological materials obtained from polar organisms to identify the value for the practical use of their bodies and metabolites.
The Polar Ocean Sciences Division pursues joint international research by using the icebreaking research vessel Araon and researches on the current circulation of the Antarctic and Arctic oceans, sea ice and marine ecosystems, and the fluctuating cycle of biogeochemical material.
It tries to support efforts toward the better understanding of the effects of the rapid climate changes in polar marine environments facing considerable transformation and to identify a pattern. It also identifies the relationship between environmental changes and global-scale climate changes.
The Polar Paleoenvironment Division interprets records left in glacier deposits in the polar regions to reconstruct the past climates and the environment before it changed.
Paleoenvironment refers to a research field that identifies the characteristics of past climate changes and understands the interaction between climate change and environmental changes. It helps predict changes in the future climate and environment based on the knowledge of the basic principles of the climate system.
The Antarctic K-Route Expedition Unit, with the Antarctic Jang Bogo Station as its base, develops the “Korean Routes” to support the activities in the unexplored fields of Antarctica. It also develops and operates drilling equipment for studies on subglacial lakes and deep ice cores and conducts related multidisciplinary research.
The Ice Sheet and Sea Level Changes Unit predicts the rate of global mean sea level rise with the rapidly decreasing ice in the polar regions, which is attributed to global warming. It applies state-of-the-art techniques to conduct observations in the polar regions to identify the causes of the changes in the cryosphere and uses numeric models to project sea level changes.
The Unit conducts research to establish a system that discovers and utilizes a massive number of useful genes and identifies biological phenomena by applying a genome sequencing technique for polar organisms.
It tries to realize the value of polar organisms as a useful biological resource by securing their important genomes, applying original technologies for functional genomes, and developing comparative genomics.
The Arctic Sea Ice Prediction Unit identifies and projects the range of changes in the polar cryosphere and the climate elements progressing at a fast pace.
By using satellite remote sensing, the Unit conducts precise real-time observations on the changing cryosphere. The data that it collects are used to run climate models to provide an accurate forecast of the sea ice’s changing patterns.
In addition, it performs a multidisciplinary study of remote sensing and modeling to develop a system that projects the changes in the polar cryosphere and provides information required for predicting Arctic sea routes. It also tries to project the influence of climate change observed in the polar regions on extreme weather events in the Korean peninsula.