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.
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.
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.
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.
– 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.
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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