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Tuesday, 19 September 2006 05:16
Tarfala WorkshopWritten by Rhian Salmon
The European Polar Board and Swedish Research Council recently week hosted a workshop in Tarfala, northern Sweden, focussed on developing outreach and communication efforts in Europe. It was an amazing venue, set at a research station surrounded by glaciers. The group consisted of artists, writers, press and media, photographers, publicity professionals, museum curators, scientists and IPY national representatives. On a hike up to a glacier, I asked one new colleague, Luigi Folco from the Museo Nazionale...
Friday, 08 September 2006 07:46
Arctic diary: Aboard the VagabondWritten by DAMOCLES
Vagabond is at Ny Ålesund since 1st September. France and I are preparing the third winter and are using the facilities of the AWIPEV Research Base. Varnishing, painting, servicing and various maintenance, cleaning, packing, sorting out, supplying of food... activities are many and varied on board! Between 2 jobs, we are exploring the surroundings with mountain bikes pulled by our dogs, paddling at sunset between drifting ice in the great King's Bay, watching the reindeers or polar foxes coming right into the village, talking - and sharing a drink - with scientists or technicians... a talk about our 2 first winters in Spitsbergen is planned here on 12 September, and we will also jump into the jacuzzi! ...
Saturday, 02 September 2006 07:50
Polar History: 1845 – The Franklin ExpeditionWritten by Glenn Stein
On May 19, 1845, Sir John Franklin, commanding HMS Erebus and Terror, left England to search for an elusive North-West Passage (see image). This was only the latest in a long series of expeditions stretching back 350 years, seeking a maritime route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Arctic. But this expedition was different from all the rest — both ships and 129 men vanished in the Arctic wastes. By 1847, there was growing concern for the missing expedition, and both overland and seaborne search parties were dispatched to try and find Franklin and his men. For over a decade, British and foreign expeditions combed the Arctic, first to rescue the explorers, and later to ascertain their fate. A document recovered in 1859 revealed that...
Saturday, 26 August 2006 07:52
Tara in TiksiWritten by Tara Expedition
Aug 16: Our last few days at sea since Cape Chelyuskin have passed much like the rest since Murmansk, albeit with heightened excitement for our arrival in Tiksi. Little wind and calm conditions allowed us to make a test of our new sounder. Capable of measuring to a depth of 4,000m, this instrument will be important during the drift to assess the depth before making a CTD sounding. However, for now our minds are turned to the coming few days in our last port of call before two years in the high Arctic Ocean. Early this afternoon, shortly after fastening the mooring lines, we had the pleasure of receiving an official welcome from the people of the Sakha Republic. Adorned in traditional robes, singing and offering food and drinks provided an unexpected but appreciated reception...
Friday, 18 August 2006 08:00
Able Seaman George Winstone: 19th Century Polar TravelerWritten by Glenn Stein
In the decade leading up to the first International Polar Year (1882-83), two British expeditions made major contributions to polar geography and science. The first was the 1872-76 Challenger Expedition, a worldwide oceanographic voyage that ushered in the modern science oceanography. The other was the 1875-76 British Arctic Expedition. Only a handful of individuals participated in both historic ventures - George Winstone was one of them. When the three-masted corvette Challenger put to sea from Portsmouth on Dec. 21, 1872, the 17-year-old Gloucester County youth formed part of her crew. Equipped with auxiliary steam power, the Challenger had been converted into a floating laboratory. Over the next four years, Winstone's grey eyes would see an asto...
Saturday, 12 August 2006 08:15
T.A.F. Feather and Scott's Antarctic ExpeditionsWritten by Glenn Stein
In July 1895, the International Geographical Congress met in London, and it was decided that Antarctica would be the primary focus of new exploration. Up until this time, nobody had explored the hinterland of the frozen continent, and even the vast majority of its coastline was still unknown. The meeting touched off a flurry of activity, and soon thereafter, national expeditions from Britain, Germany and Sweden, as well as private ventures, started organizing. This is the story of Thomas A.F. Feather, who was part of the 1902-04 British National Antarctic Expedition, and who played a role in Scott's last expedition. When 31-year-old Thomas Feather was appointed Boatswain of the Discovery in May 1901, the Norfolk native and First Class Petty Officer had no idea that ...
Friday, 11 August 2006 08:27
Tara enters the Kara SeaWritten by Tara Expedition
The yacht Tara has now sailed through Russian waters and into the Kara Sea. Grant is captain of this expedition which is part of the larger, IPY endorsed, DAMOCLES programme. We are following their journey into the ice, where they will drift across the arctic by posting some of the captain's logs: Passing through the Karskiye Vorota Strait between Novaya Zemlya and Ostrov Vaygach Islands this morning we have now entered the south Kara Sea. The weather conditions have changed little since the last log, cold and grey. With little wind to speak of we are ...
Friday, 11 August 2006 08:18
Every Year is a Polar YearWritten by Mark McCaffrey
The world has changed dramatically in the 125 years since Karl Weyprecht's death in 1881, and I often wonder what he would make of the global change. Alternating current has electrified the world. Radio communication, which didn't exist at the time, lead to television, GPS and wireless technologies. Internal combustion engines, then in their infancy, have revolutionized transportation and industry and contributed to altering the climate system. The world's population has grown sixfold. And our understanding of the Earth as a system has made leaps and bounds through diligent, scientific study and collaboration. Throughout this period-- a few short generations but beyond the span of all but the most robust lifespans-- the International Polar Years have provided vision and leadership, ...
Wednesday, 02 August 2006 08:38
Norwegian FjordsWritten by Tara Expedition
Navigating through the Norwegian fiords has been truly magnificent. With grand mountainous landscapes, winding channels with strong currents, a scattering of fishing villages and the midnight sun we have enjoyed every mile of it. We can see many similarities with the landscapes of Patagonia and South Georgia. At the start of the year we were sailing past the abandoned Norwegian whaling stations in South Georgia. Now the cultural links between the southern whaling grounds and this part of the world are even more evident to us as we sail past small isolated fishing villages that resemble in some ways the Norwegian settlements in the south. For those of us with biological clocks regulated to the mid latitudes we are finding it somewhat bizarre to experience 24 hour sunlight. Vi...
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