4 October 2012

Arctic Sea Ice, Fram Strait

N 78 43.034

E 08 39.266

The search for the Barneo ice floe ended in the early morning.

Back in early spring, Barneo was a giant piece of sea ice just a couple dozen miles away from the North Pole. It was large enough for a runway, a mess hall, fuel stations and other facilities meant to support tourist flights to the North Pole. Now, six months and nearly 350 miles later, most of Barneo has either broken apart or sunk to the Arctic sea floor.

Barneo ice floe, Extreme Ice Survey

he team walks carefully across a small piece of ice to recover an in-situ CTD mooring from the Barneo ice floe.

The search leading us to this bizarre destination had its roots in science: team leader Frank Nilsen wanted to recover equipment that had been measuring various aspects of the ice, sea and climate during Barneo’s southward drift. Incredibly, given how far this floe has drifted and the storms it has weathered, Frank, with help from the captain’s sharp eyes, was able to find a meteorological station, a CTD instrument and even a functioning webcam.

Hauling scientific equipment from the Barneo ice floe onto the RV Lance.

Hauling scientific equipment from the Barneo ice floe onto the RV Lance.

The ship is now headed back east and soon we’ll be in open waters again. We feel the swell  and recognize that seasickness is on the horizon. The search for Barneo has extended our trip an extra day, which has us returning to Longyearbyen just two hours before our flight back to Oslo. We’d better give our thanks and say our goodbyes tonight because tomorrow it’s going to be a rush back to civilization.

Svavar Jónatansson

Extreme Ice Survey

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