Extreme science in extreme conditions: frozen in to the Arctic winter
Dr Markus Frey, a British Antarctic Survey (BAS) ice and atmospheric scientist, is living and working aboard the Norwegian research vessel, R.V. Lance, which has been frozen into the Arctic sea ice in the darkness of winter.
Battling against the polar elements and temperatures that frequently drop to −30 degrees C, Markus is gathering crucial measurements on snow and sea-salt particles, which affect cloud formation and how much sunlight gets reflected by the atmosphere. His work will contribute to a major six month research effort, sponsored by the Norwegian Polar Institute, to monitor Arctic sea-ice across its entire life cycle from formation in the winter to melt in the summer. Understanding the environmental changes in the Arctic region will help to improve predictions of future change and, potentially, what this means for the rest of the planet.
Markus is taking short breaks from the crow’s nest of the ship where his instrumentation sits to send direct reports — we are eagerly awaiting his next update, but in the meantime read on for past updates from Markus. You can also follow the ship’s progress on Markus’s blog, Instagram and Twitter, and through on-board National Geographic reporting.
This research is known as ‘ABSCISSA’ (Arctic Sea-Ice-Zone Blowing Snow — Contribution to Sea Salt Aerosol), and was funded by a Natural Environment Research Council International Opportunities Fund.