On Thin Ice. Expedition of the Norwegian Polar Institute
In January 2015 the Norwegian Polar Institute organized an expedition on a research vessel Lance to determine the reasons of climate changes which had happened on the Earth.
The vessel had frozen into the ice in the latitude of 83° N, 756km away from Northern Polar and 364km – from earth. She had passively drifted for 6 month. Lance settled in the thick floes (ice field) which had formed from palaeocrystallic ice. Due to strong steel and vessel’s form natural power of ice did not crush her, indeed, Lance weights several thousand tons. Ice could be very dangerous for the people on board, but for climate and eco-system ice is vitally important factor.
Over last years heavy polar ice melting has been observed. The amount of first-year ice increases and the part of palaeocrystallic ice is reduced. Researchers from 11 countries worked on board of Lance: Norway, France, Germany, Korea Republic, Finland, Russian, USA, Denmark, UK, and Canada. They surveyed first-year ice for better understanding the Arctic ice regime. Studying ice dynamics, scientists expect to learn more about how it affects global climate system.
Climate changes are observed in the world, however the Arctic warming is much faster and stronger than in the Southern regions. Warming of the Northern regions has an impact on changing of global climate balance. When difference in temperature between the Arctic and other regions becomes smaller, an influence on the weather takes place. This can cause severe cold and extreme snowfall in some regions, while the other regions will suffer from drought and heat waves. Therefore warming in the Arctic can influence on food production, ground environment and at last on stability in different parts of the world.
When the glaciers melt, large masses of water funnel to the sea, and sea water molecules expand when they heat. This influence sea level and millions of people who live near coastal territories can suffer a lot. Knowledge gathered by scientists during expedition on Lance, expands our opportunity to forecast the fate of the humankind in our changing world.