Each boreal summer, Poseidon Expeditions runs trips for adventurous travelers to Franz Josef Land and the North Pole on the 50 Let Pobedy, a 524-ft. Russian Arktika-class icebreaker. This year there is something new on board, in the form of a sea ice data collection project, conceived, set up and run by two of the expedition staff with the support of the company.
Lauren Farmer and Alex Cowan have worked for several years on expedition cruise vessels in the Arctic and Antarctic and this summer will be the photographer and geologist respectively.
They will be collecting measurements of sea ice thickness and extent, and melt pond distribution while breaking ice on the way to and from the pole. At the North Pole itself they will be measuring melt pond depth and salinity. These data are being provided to various researchers at The International Arctic Research Centre, McGill University and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ERDC Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, where they will be used to assess and model melting of the pack through the summer and also to validate thermodynamic models of the Arctic Ocean.
Through this effort they hope more adventure tourism companies will integrate so-called citizen science into their on-board programs.
"The consequent increased communication between professionals in polar tourism and science should be of great benefit to both communities and it is also hoped that it will inspire adventurous travelers, and give them a feeling of connection with the Arctic, having helped collect valuable scientific data and been more than 'just a visitor,'" said Dr. Alex Cowan.
The above story originally appeared in Expedition News.