Quantcast
Connect with us

‘Largest polar expedition in history’ to probe Arctic climate

Published

on

A team of scientists from 19 countries will set off for the Arctic on Friday, aiming to freeze their ship into the polar ice for a year to research the changing climate.

Aboard the massive icebreaker Polarstern, belonging to Germany’s Alfred Wegener polar and marine research institute, researchers hope to glean new understanding of the region.

The 140 million-euro ($155 million) mission will study the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice, ecosystem and natural processes — looking to build a picture of how climate change is affecting the region and the entire world.

ADVERTISEMENT

“No other region of the world has warmed as quickly as the Arctic in the past decades,” mission leader and atmospheric scientist Markus Rex said on the “Mosaic” (Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate) website.

“At the beginning of this year, we had an extreme case where the central Arctic was warmer than in Germany,” Rex added.

“It’s almost the epicentre of global warming. At the same time, we know little about this region so far.”

He warned: “We won’t be able to accurately predict our climate if we don’t have reliable forecasts for the Arctic.”

ADVERTISEMENT

– 150 days of darkness –

The Polarstern will set off from Tromso, Norway and then moor to a huge iceberg before drifting for almost a year through the central polar region — the ice freezing at least 1.5 metres (five feet) thick around it as winter draws in.

Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmhol/AFP / Kajetan Deja The 140 million-euro mission will study the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice, ecosystem and natural processes

A fleet of four icebreakers from Russia, China and Sweden, as well as aeroplanes and helicopters, will resupply the ship and rotate crew members in and out.

ADVERTISEMENT

But while the expedition has been eight years in the making, its 2,500-kilometre (1,550 mile) journey through temperatures as low as minus degrees 45 Celsius (minus 49 Fahrenheit) and 150 days and nights of darkness will be unpredictable.

Once frozen in place, the Polarstern itself will remain home to all the expedition members — around 100 people at any one time.

Around it, a miniature city of science will spring up on the ice, divided into sections to keep the different researchers’ experiments from interfering with one another.

ADVERTISEMENT

One will provide a launching spot for underwater robots investigating the world below the ice and the seafloor, while another will be the base for investigating the ice and snow and how they interact with air and water.

A third section focuses on study of the seawater itself, with a heated tent keeping samples above freezing point, while still another will bristle with sensor masts and tethered balloons probing the atmosphere.

The runway and a network of sensors spreading up to 50 kilometres from the ship complete the picture — as well as a team of at least six lookouts on “polar bear watch”.

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Commentary

House Democrats: It’s time to include Trump’s shady Turkey deal in the impeachment inquiry

Published

on

Even by Donald Trump's basement-level standards, there's something bizarre about the president's behavior in deciding to allow a Turkish invasion of Syria aimed at pushing the Kurdish population out of the area — a move that is, for all intents and purposes, an act of ethnic cleansing. Less than two weeks ago, Trump, apparently spontaneously, acceded to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an's request that the U.S. pull a small number of troops out of the area to clear the way for what swiftly turned into a slaughter. Since then, Trump's attempts to justify this betrayal — not just of the Kurds, but of basic human decency — have been alarmingly erratic, well beyond his existing baseline of constant, impulsive dramatics.

Continue Reading

Facebook

Climate change not on agenda for next G7 summit: Trump White House

Published

on

Climate change will not be on the agenda of next year's G7 summit, to be held at US President Donald Trump's Florida golf club, the White House said on Thursday.

The announcement marks the latest development in Trump's running battle against nearly all forms of environmental regulation that has seen his administration pull out of the Paris climate accord, axe rules limiting leaks of the greenhouse gas methane and weaken key wildlife protections.

"Climate change will not be on the agenda," acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters.

The United States and China account for nearly half the planet's carbon emissions, making them the key countries needed to get behind urgent efforts to battle climate change.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

George Conway declares Trump is now ‘the one with tire treads on his face’ — and posts this hilarious video

Published

on

Conservative attorney George Conway, spouse to Senior Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, took a few moments Thursday morning to once again mock President Donald Trump, and with good reason. The President’s Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, and his Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, as many are saying, are throwing Trump under the bus. Sondland’s opening remarks alone are devastating to Trump.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image