Survey scientists land at floating Ice Base on Arctic Ocean

Catlin Arctic Survey today confirmed its team of scientists has landed at the expedition’s Ice Base on the floating sea ice of the Arctic Ocean, ready to begin research into the impact of carbon dioxide on the north Polar Region.

They will be living and working on a tented base under the guidance of experienced polar experts at a location offshore from Ellef Ringnes Island north of Canada.

Yesterday the mission’s Explorer Team began its long range trek across the floating sea ice. Led by veteran explorer Ann Daniels, the team of three will be taking samples of seawater from beneath the ice and capturing data for the science partners. 

Head of Operations for the expedition, Chip Cunliffe said: “We’ve now safely placed both our teams where we planned for the start of the expedition. Over the next few they will be settling into their routines and getting used to life at temperatures which can reach minus 45 degrees Celsius.”

“The scientists and explorers have all spent time in Resolute, preparing and testing kit for the last ten days. There has been a huge amount to do. In terms of getting everyone to this point we have probably shipped in around 3,500kg of equipment.”

The Survey is a collaboration between explorers and research scientists to survey and study in the inhospitable conditions of an Arctic winter.  Scientists are increasingly focusing on this phenomenon which is associated with rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. There is a need for much more information about this from the Arctic Ocean, especially as CO2 is more readily absorbed in cold water, yet research is scarce in this inhospitable region – notably in winter and early spring.

The academic institutions participating in the Catlin Arctic Survey 2010 include CNRS-Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Laboratoire Oceanographie (Villefranche); Plymouth Marine Laboratory; Institute of Ocean Science (Fisheries and Oceans Canada); University of Exeter; and Bangor University. An international group of scientists based in Europe, Canada and the USA will also be able to use the results of the field studies.

Some scientists believe that, based on current projections, the pH of the world’s oceans could reach levels by 2050 not seen on Earth for 20 million years. If this occurs, there could be serious consequences for marine life in the Arctic and elsewhere.

During the expedition the team will be sending video, reports and photos to show what it takes to capture data under the extreme condition of the Arctic Ocean. Follow the expedition on www.catlinarcticsurvey.com

Photo: Nick Smith

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