Alden is studying how the Greenland Ice Sheet keeps records of historical atmospheric composition in the tiny bubbles of air trapped within the ice.
She focuses on understanding how the gases in the atmosphere travel through the snow and firn (snow that is more than one year old) so that we know how long the air has been trapped within the ice.
In 2007, Alden and her colleagues collected a firn core from Summit Station on the Greenland Ice Sheet and have since been studying how gas travels through the firn. The first step has been determining the best method to measure gas transport, which is important for correctly reconstructing the history of atmospheric composition and relating that to past temperature.
Once Alden and her colleagues understand the way that the earth has behaved in the past, they can hopefully improve predictions about what might happen with regards to future changes in the atmosphere, as well as the implications for the Greenland Ice Sheet, ecosystems, and people.
Alden received a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2014 to continue her research.