Next Generation: Nicole Trenholm on melting in the Arctic

December 9, 2021

Advisor: Andrea Pain, Horn Point Laboratory

I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and completed my undergraduate degree at LaSalle University in Environmental Science and Geology.

I had a strong inclination to become an oceanographer so there was no question that I needed to become a capable mariner. Sailing quickly became my “joie de vivre” after crewing for environmental education tall ships. Due to my early NOAA technical and maritime career in the Chesapeake area I feel grateful and home to excel as a doctoral student at Horn Point Laboratory. I also co-established a non-profit Ocean Research Project where I led expeditions to survey microplastic ocean pollution concentration across the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

In the Arctic, I traced the ocean forces that melt Greenland and the Northwest Passage glaciers mostly in conjunction with the NASA Ocean Melting Greenland mission. I could see that increases of glacial meltwater discharge influence the livelihood of the high latitude coastal marine ecosystem. Global impacts from the steady advances in glacial melt include sea level rise, ocean freshening and changes to nutrient availability required for biomass production and healthy fisheries.

My physical, biogeochemical, and optical ocean observations along the glaciated coastline will characterize the impacts of increased glacial meltwater discharge on the Earth’s oceans. These field observations can lead to the interpretation of the coastal ecosystem response from deglaciation while verifying satellite measurements. I will become an oceanographer in order to best conduct and direct high priority collaborative polar ocean research across ocean research sectors.