Borealis Expedition: pollution of the Arctic

Since 1975, the passionate couple Joëlle and Janusz Kurbiel, who has a doctorate in climatology from the prestigious French University the Sorbonne, have dedicated their lives to the exploration of the North Pole. For the last few years, they have navigated through this region with the help of MaxSea TimeZero Navigatortheir marine navigation software.

Here is a description of the advances they have made in climatology research onboard the Vagabond’elle and the Marguerite 1 vessels:

Climatology (Dr. Janusz Kurbiel)
Ice polution in the North PoleOur 2005-2010 expeditions were dedicated to the study of ice conditions in the Knud Rasmussen Land, the most unreachable part of the eastern coast of Greenland. The results allowed us to identify the various factors that affect the melting of sea ice and establish the process in this part of the world.

The question is whether this process is identical or not in other parts of the Arctic. Only systematic studies in the field over periods of time will enable the better understanding of the mechanisms governing ice melting in these areas. As preliminary results in 2011 seemed to confirm those of previous expeditions, we decided to expand it to other maritime areas of the Arctic in 2012. The results are being evaluated.

Cold Weather Sailing Guide

Data acquisition (Dr. Janusz Kurbiel)
Despite the evolution of polar teledetection, field work is still indispensable. Our role is to
collect data about the climatic environment of an Arctic maritime area lying between Greenland and Alaska.

Environmental Arctic study (Prof. Maria Olech)
Lichens sampling in Bernard HarbourWe continued to study the level of pollution of the Arctic and its possible impact on global climate change. More than 700 samples of lichens and mosses were collected, catalogued and preserved for future analysis. Lichens and mosses retain heavy metals and other pollutants in the air. Unlike other plants, they do not grow from the soil, so are considered excellent bio indicators of climate change.

This analysis will determine the degree and nature of the pollution present in the study area and will help assess which changes in the global climate can be attributed to natural changes and which are due to human activity.

We will keep you posted about the results of these studies and adventures in the North Pole!

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