Icebreaker Oden Arctic Ocean 18. Photo courtesy Ida Kinner
Physicist and Oceanographer Dr Helen Czerski is getting ready to set sail in a major scientific expedition to research the delicate balance between the sea, atmosphere and ice in the remote and central Arctic.
The UCL Mechanical Engineering lecturer will be joining the Swedish-American research expedition Arctic Ocean 2018.
The overall theme of the research expedition is the formation of clouds. While clouds are understood to play a very important role in the Arctic climate, researchers will be studying how the life cycle of clouds are affected by the microbiological life in and beneath the ice
Dr Czerski will be amongst some forty researchers from around the world, who will be based and work on board the Swedish icebreaker Oden, whilst moored to a moving ice floe. The Arctic climate is changing faster than anywhere else in the world with the Arctic ice pack shrinking at an alarming rate. An improved understanding of how climate change affects the Arctic is seen by the expedition’s leaders as key to predicting the global climate of the future.
Swedish Co-Chief Scientist for the expedition Caroline Leck, Professor of Chemical Meteorology at the Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University said;
Dr Helen Czerski, UCL Mechanical Engneering
“Deglaciation has occurred faster than anticipated. Perhaps the Northeast Passage will be passable by merchant vessels as early as in ten years’ time? If so, it would have a huge impact on the dynamics of international political economy. Clouds play a central role in the Arctic climate. Consequently, we must rise to the challenge and carry out onsite studies into the link between life in the sea and cloud formations, a logistical and technical challenge beyond the ordinary in inhospitable and inaccessible areas of the North Pole”,
In a blog outlining the expedition Czerski wrote;
“The biggest questions concern the link between ocean microbiology and cloud structure, and the feedback mechanisms connecting all the components together. One of the reasons that these are still open questions is that comprehensive observation expeditions like Arctic Ocean 2018 are fairly rare, and we have relatively little data from the central Arctic to base our understanding on.
This expedition offers a valuable opportunity to monitor many interlinked parts of the Arctic weather and climate simultaneously, providing a rich data set which will be the foundation for better weather and climate models.”
The expedition launches on Tuesday July 31st.