The National R&D Plan will finance six polar research projects this summer
The Oceanography Research Ship Hesperides, carrying out two projects, will travel to the Arctic Ocean for the first time.
June 18, 2007. On June 20, the Hesperides will initiate the Spanish arctic campaign held in honour of the International Polar Year, co-ordinated in Spain by the Ministry of Science and Education (MEC). This is the first time the research ship, sailing from Vigo, will carry out projects in the Arctic Ocean. These projects are Spain's contribution to the objectives of the Polar Year, an international initiative aimed at increasing the knowledge of polar regions and the implications of climate change on a global level.
The first project of the Hesperides, ATOS-Arctic, will evaluate the impact on the Arctic ecosystem of the rapid loss of ice coverage due to global warming. The melting ice releases contaminates into the ocean and increases the exposure of plankton to sunlight and ultraviolet radiation, resulting in an exchange of gases with the atmosphere and causing significant changes in the environment. The ATOS project, carried out in June and July, is directed by the biologist Carlos Duarte from the Mediterranean Institute of Advanced Studies (University of Balearic Islands-CSIC), leading a team of oceanographers, biologists, chemists and technicians from the CSIC.
The second project, SVAIS, will reconstruct the changes which have occurred on the sea floor in the area o the Southwest of the Svalbard Islands (Norway) since the beginning of the glacial era some three million years ago until now. Greater understanding of the natural evolution of glaciers during past eras, hotter than our own, will provide insight into climate change caused by human activity and its future effects. The Arctic research projects will be carried out from the end of July to mid-August, directed by the marine geologist Angelo Camerlenghi from the University of Barcelona).
Additionally, other projects financed under the National R&D Plan for the Polar Year will be carried out in the Arctic region throughout the summer.
The study of glacial earthquakes and their connection to climate processes is the subject of a project undertaken by the Space Sciences Institute of Catalonia. Another project, carried out by the Complutense University of Madrid, will investigate plant survival mechanisms under extreme conditions. Two other projects will study the role of marine ice in the dispersion of sediments in the ocean and compare the atmospheric conditions of earlier epochs in order to further understand climate change. These projects are both directed by scientists from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
The Oceanographic Research ship Hesperides, part of the Spanish Navy, was launched on March 12, 1990. It is recognised as a Singular Scientific and Technological Infrastructure and managed under the Ministry of Science and Education. The Marine Technology Unit of CSIC is responsible for maintenance and logistics of the ship and provides scientific equipment and personnel for its projects.
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Thursday, 21 June 2007 00:43
Spain to investigate the consequences of climate change in the ArcticWritten by Rhian Salmon
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