An unusual expedition to the Antarctic

Swiss polar Institute conducts large-scale scientific expedition, which departs December 20 from South Africa to measure and analyze the effects of climate warming and pollution of the southern ocean.

At the end of last week, the Russian research vessel called the port of Cape town. Arrived from Germany “Akademik tryoshnikov” landed fifty students that during the trip, participated in Oceanographic research. On 20 December he was again released into the sea. Now he faces the challenge of a completely different scale to circumnavigate the Antarctic to study the impact of climate warming and pollution of the southern ocean. The expedition will allow scientists 55 world to work for three months.

This project was first established in April this year, the Swiss polar Institute. It was formed on the basis of the Federal Polytechnic school of Lausanne (EPFL) in collaboration with the publishing house Paulsen and is a consortium of Swiss universities. The initiator of the expedition and its main sponsor was Frederick Paulsen (Paulsen Frédérik), manufacturer (Ferring Pharmaceuticals) and polar Explorer. He provided a ship and 2.5 million euros for research projects. In total with the assistance of other sponsors, the budget will be about 3 million euros.

22 research project

“On this project we got at least 100 research proposals”, — said Philip Gillet (Philippe Gillet), Vice-President of EPFL for academic Affairs. He managed to form the scientific part is less than a year. “The Committee includes a dozen world-renowned scientists,” including the French climatologist Jean Gusela (Jean Jouzel) and biologist Ian Roper-Kuder (Yan Ropert-Coudert). There were selected 22 projects of scientists from Switzerland, the UK, Australia, France, Russia and Canada. They concern the different subjects: ocean-atmosphere living in the cold waters of the viruses, micro-particles of plastic in the ocean, counting whale populations, the carbon cycle, habitats of albatrosses…

“It is important to examine and better understand the work of the poles, which play a Central role in the climatic balance of the Earth” — reminiscent of the Institute. “The pole is very important for the balance of the climate, and also represent the most sensitive regions changes: the largest changes in temperature occur right there”, explains Philippe Gillet. The expedition will be conducted in three long stages with wisdome on the Islands. From South Africa the ship will arrive in Australian Hobart with stops in the archipelago of Crozet and Kerguelen. Next, the researchers will travel to the West to Punta arenas in Chile. The final point will once again be South Africa, where the ship should return in the second half of March 2017.

“The unique thing is the fact that the route passes through the entire region in such a short time,” says Philippe Gillet. This will allow to conduct a chemical analysis of seawater for the same period. The southern ocean is “a key region which affects the carbon cycle and the future of Antarctica. In the next century it may play a critical role in the rise of sea level,” — said Jean Jouzel in conversation with representatives of the Institute.