By the Catlin Arctic Survey team
WWF is supporting the research of the Catlin Arctic Survey. This year’s research includes an expedition across the ice, as well as an ice base, both in the far north of Canada. The main purpose of the mission is to gather data on the changing Arctic Ocean currents.
Read an article on the WWF Global Arctic Programme website announcing the launch of the 2011 Catlin Arctic Survey here.
Ann Daniels, co-team leader, reports: “We are all happy, healthy and getting into our natural expedition rhythm. The good weather has helped us complete our daily scientific measurements without becoming too cold – although we are all feeling each of those hard-earned miles in our feet especially.”
Each day the polar explorers are measuring ice and snow thickness and density and recording ice observations. They are also deploying three scientific instruments to measure sea salinity, sea temperature and the direction currents are flowing under the ice, using Conductivity, Temperature and Depth devices (CTDs) and an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP). The team is gathering this data to help scientists determine the impact of the increased amounts of freshwater entering the Arctic Ocean from melting sea ice, melting glaciers and river runoff.
This first expedition – a 10-day crossing of the Prince Gustaf Adolf Sea – is also an opportunity for the explorers to see how the scientific equipment performs in the extreme conditions. Bar the ice being too thick on the first day for the team to drill through – a solid four metres of multi-year ice near Borden Island – scientist Adrian McCallum has reported all is well.