August 12, 2022

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Gruppebilde av forskere framme på Nordpolen

A little ice worries researchers – NRK Troms and Finnmark

Dramatic things have happened in ten years. He says it’s worrying Mats Granskog, a sea ice researcher at the Norwegian Polar Institute.

The last time he was at the North Pole, he landed the plane. This is not possible today, because the ice is not solid enough.

Granskog is one of 27 researchers and technicians who were with the research vessel on its maiden voyage to the North Pole. The ship reached the North Pole at 15.30.

Science Tour leader Paul Dodd, at about 90 degrees.

Photo: Trine Lise Sviggum Helgerud/Norwegian Polar Institute

It was several days earlier than expected.

We know that the Arctic Ocean is changing, but we didn’t expect the changes to be so extensive, says campaign leader and director of the Polar Institute, Ole Arf Messund.

The ship set its Arctic course from Tromsø on July 19. According to Maisund, they expected to use more time and more engine power to reach the North Pole.

We were ready for more ice cracking. But he says that for long periods we had open parties all the time.

– It really surprises us.

Ole Arve Misund.  The Norwegian Polar Institute.

Cruise captain and director of the Polar Institute, Ole Arve Misund, was surprised by how little ice there is in the Arctic Ocean. The photo was taken on the same day they reached the North Pole.

Photo: TRINE LISE SVIGGUM HELGERUD / NORWEGIAN POLAR INSTITUTE

The need for more knowledge

The expedition is part of the Polar Expedition 2022 sponsored by the Norwegian Polar Institute and UiT Arctic University of Norway.

In the Arctic and in the surrounding area, they will be doing extensive environmental sampling.

The trip is important for filling knowledge gaps and for the future management of the Arctic Ocean, says Messund.

It is believed that it is important that Norway is located in the Arctic Ocean and monitors climatic developments.

– As the ice cover decreases, large parts of the Arctic Ocean will become available year-round, and the Pole may become ice-free in the fall in a few years. In the longer term, we’ll see increased activity around the Arctic, new transportation routes, an increase in tourism, and possibly also fishing activity in the north, Messund says.

Research leader Paul Dodd believes it is important to gather more knowledge from the region, to prepare us for the transition from the white, ice-covered Arctic sea to the open blue sea.

There is a need to know how ocean currents, carbon cycles and fish migrations are affected in an ocean that would only be completely covered by ice in the winter, and no longer year-round, he says.

Mats Granskog.  Crown Prince Haakon.  North Pole.  The Norwegian Polar Institute.

Sea-ice researchers Mats Granskog and Dimitri Devine are well aware of how much ice there is in the area.

Photo: TRINE LISE SVIGGUM HELGERUD / NORWEGIAN POLAR INSTITUTE

Worried about ice drop

Sea ice researchers systematically observed sea ice cover from the boat. They record that there is still ice, but not the same type of ice as before.

The ice is much thinner than before, and most of the ice is first year ice.

Mats Granskog.  North Pole.  The Norwegian Polar Institute.  Crown Prince Haakon.

Mats Granskog is concerned about the lack of ice in the Arctic.

Photo: Trine Lise Sviggum Helgerud/Norwegian Polar Institute

– This means that the ice is recent. The winter that was slept and did not survive after the summer. That’s the trend we’ve seen in recent years, Granskog.

He is worried about the consequences that might ensue.

– There are a number of ice-based animal species, which you will now find more difficult.

North Pole.  The Norwegian Polar Institute.  Crown Prince Haakon.

This is what the sea ice cover looked like two hours before the ship reached the North Pole.

Photo: TRINE LISE SVIGGUM HELGERUD / NORWEGIAN POLAR INSTITUTE

Tour leader Misund is also concerned about the decrease in the amount of ice, and sees it as clear evidence of global warming.

– It’s annoying that there is so little ice.

But a little ice also presents an unexpected opportunity in the Arctic.

– We’ll do some fishing here. He says there are no problems finding the slots.

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