What did they discover?
The Arctic is melting fast. A new study shows that from 2005-2008, temperatures in the central Arctic were 5 °C above the level anticipated.
The summer sea ice extent has decreased by 40% since the 70s. Significant permafrost melting has already taken place.
These changes are driven by greenhouse gas emissions. The models vary, but many experts now suggest the summer ice in the Arctic will be completely gone within a generation.
Scientists forecast that the Arctic will warm by 2-4°C over the next 40 years. This is a very large and rapid change for a region where species have evolved to be well adapted to cold, snow and ice.
Taking the sea ice away from the Arctic could therefore cause hardship all the way through the arctic food web, destabilizing a system that is already fragile due to the comparatively low number of species. The expedition is expecting to see and document evidence of the effects of decreasing ice.
The expedition also had the opportunity to visit several of WWF’s ‘Polar Bear Patrols
’ along the coast.
The vessel is called Explorer of Sweden
and is a 62 foot sailboat that has been reinforced to handle the icy conditions. It has a satellite connection with phone, and is run by solar panels and wind power.
The expedition was carbon neutral.