In 2008, Dartmouth's Dickey Center for International Understanding was awarded a five-year NSF Interdisciplinary Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) grant to develop a Ph.D. program in polar environmental change (www.dartmouth.edu/~igert/). The U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) is a collaborator on the project. The program integrates departmental graduate requirements in earth sciences, ecology and evolutionary biology, and engineering with an interdisciplinary framework for studying polar environmental change. While science-based, the program also considers the human dimensions of climate change and ways scientists can more effectively communicate with policymakers and the public about the consequences of rapid climate change.
An important part of the Dartmouth program is a field seminar in Greenland, a country currently experiencing the consequences of melting sea ice and receding glaciers. Students study and research terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems near Kangerlussuaq, snow and ice cryosphere processes on the Greenland Ice Sheet at Summit Camp, and environmental policy and science communication in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland.