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School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment

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Meet Sarah Hall

              I am a Marine Science PhD student working in Dr. Subrahmanyam Bulusu’s Satellite Oceanography Laboratory with a focus in Physical Oceanography. My core research focuses on Arctic Ocean dynamics in a changing climate utilizing a combination of observational and simulated data. With these resources I have been able to analyze physical dynamics of the Arctic Ocean including freshwater distribution, air-sea interactions, and parameters changing underneath the ocean’s surface. Studying these changes, especially in recent decades where anthropogenic impacts on climate warming have hindered winter sea ice growth, is extremely important as we will soon face ice-free summers, which will impact local environments, global circulation, and have further implications towards the politics of maritime advancements, international disputes, and oil drilling.

                Prior to attending the University of South Carolina, I graduated from Texas A&M University with my bachelor’s in Environmental Geoscience, including a minor in GIS, as well as obtaining a Master of Ocean Science and Technology degree. During this time, I took on a hobby as an Open Water SCUBA diver and worked my way up to a Dive Master certification which provoked even more interest in studying many of the interdisciplinary facets of oceanography as I had seen only a miniscule percentage of this intriguing ‘world’ firsthand. My interests spread far and wide during my college career; exploring ecology and restoration of shallow coral reef ecosystems, evaluating impacts of commercial fishing on deep sea coral reefs in protected and non-protected regions, to aiding other labs during research cruises in the Gulf of Mexico that evaluated the chemical composition of the water in the Flower Garden Banks. Driven to continue research, a friend of mine showed me an opening at UofSC to be a part of the Satellite Oceanography Lab. I knew the Marine Science program in the School of Earth, Ocean & Science department was renowned and reputable for their past and ongoing research and wanted to be a part of the possible discoveries yet to come. The Arctic Ocean project under Dr. Bulusu piqued my interest as this region is still not as well known, but its climate is changing drastically.

It seems unusual switching from studying shallow, tropical coral reefs to physical oceanography of the polar Arctic Ocean, but the true connection to all my research is the underlying fact that we, as the human population, have played a major role in the rapidly changing climate with repercussions to all environments, just in different ways. My drive in this is discovering how this will impact our future and what we can or will do about it. I am open to many future possibilities in the marine science field, where my passion for conservation will hopefully guide me to find effective solutions through associated field work and research lab.

                With my current research, I hope to provide a better understanding of the implications that our changing climate has had on the  of the Arctic Ocean. It is one of the lesser known oceans due to the harsh polar conditions limiting observations on site and the sea ice prohibiting satellites to get an accurate measure of the sea surface. In the last decade, the Arctic has had breaking records of minimum summer sea ice posing threat to abnormal freshwater release that could affect the global circulation. I hope to be a part of the generation that uncovers more of these unknown regions and with predictions, find ways to mitigate or adapt to the changes we will face in the near future.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.