Ground Truthing Arctic Ice Loss – a February Trek across the Arctic Ice

Preparations for Arctic Ice Loss Expedition

Preparations for Arctic Ice Loss Expedition


[Photo from Catlin Survey Website]

I just received an Arctic Bulletin from the World Wildlife Fund-Canada. There is an amazing project starting February, 2009 – 29 days, 1 hour from now. It is about Ground Truthing the Arctic Ice Loss using a very accurate ice radar called the Sprite. It is the Catlin Arctic Survey. The Catlin Arctic Survey is an international collaboration between polar explorers and some of the world’s foremost scientific bodies. It seeks to resolve one of the most important environmental questions of our time:
How long will the Arctic Ocean’s sea ice cover remain a permanent feature of our planet?

Here is what is most fascinating, from an experiential perspective…..
Sending data direct from the ice

Direct communications from polar expeditions to back home have, up until now, been severely restricted, at least when compared to communicating from other regions of the world. This is due to the extremely narrow bandwidth and resulting low data transmission rate offered by Iridium, the only available satellite network operating over the polar regions.

However using both innovative strategies and state-of-the-art equipment, the expedition’s Ice Team will be able to transmit video and web cam footage and high-resolution still images directly from the Arctic Ocean. A custom-built, onboard sledge computer coupled to a multi-modem, Iridium data-uplink system has been specially designed to withstand the deep cold and rough use in a polar environment. This equipment will receive, reformat, store, compress and most importantly transmit all of the vital science, image, audio, video and bio-telemetry data back to the UK HQ – on a live, delayed live or overnight basis.

By linking reportage-style web-cam footage and live audio commentaries (for example) to the data generated from body-worn bio-monitors (another area of technological innovation) it will be possible for people not just to follow the team’s progress, but to experience it.

This innovative transmission technology will connect Pen and the team directly to newsrooms, websites, mobile phones and PCs allowing a global audience to be directly connected to what is happening on the ice.

Below are the links to follow this fascinating, state of the art journey that will give us accurate information about ice thickness this winter. All over the world, we should be following this scientific investigation over a 100-day period online during February and March.

Students and educators can track their daily progress and what they are learning ( 3 person team)….They are trekking (walking), hauling sledges behind them. See this PHOTO.

The Science behind this amazing Scientific Journey (This is the most important page)

The Main Website for the Catlin Arctic Survey project

The Route Map

You can download a Google Earth Route Map and then see, in Google Earth, what this looks like.  Amazing!

This is Science in Action – in real time, really important, and very relevant!



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