From April 11 to 21, 2014, join a Norwegian Polar Institute and WWF-Canon scientific expedition to collect critical data about Europe’s most westerly polar bear population. The population on and around the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard is facing a future without summer sea ice. See all posts from the expedition here.
Being out in the field, you sometimes encounter challenges, like having an open space office in the High Arctic. We are here to study polar bears at the northeastern tip of Svalbard which is situated above 80th latitude North. That is far above the Arctic Circle.
In addition to the research, we send out short videos and news stories from the field. Where we are right now, there is no mobile system or internet connection so we rely totally on satellite communication. By using a satellite telephone connected to a box ,which is a wireless router, it is possible via the laptop to get our messages out. However, the batteries run flat in short time due to the cold. Therefore, I often have extra batteries in my pockets closest to the body to keep them warm, to last a little bit longer.
I would call it a room with a view, but the temperature can drop to minus 15 degrees Celsius and we have to be outside to get the best possible chance to transmit to the passing satellites . We, as the researchers, have to be very careful whilst working in this Arctic cold environment. It is easy to freeze your hands and fingers when you work without gloves and mittens. You do what you should do and then directly put on the gloves to keep you warm.
From the most northern WWF field office – At the edge of what is possible!