News coming from the cold

Posted on the 26.01.2014 by Jérôme Coupé

The discussions with our federal governent and the preparation of the BELARE season at Utsteinen have kept me quite busy for the last few months. I have had little time to post news on my personal site, but here are some fresh news from Antarctica.

Before writing this short news, I would like to remind those of you who would like to have more accurate information about what happens at Utsteinen, Antarctica, to pay a visit to the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica website, which is updated almost every week.

A very busy Antarctic season

Since our arrival last November, everything is going very welll at Princess Elisabeth. Even with a lower budget and a smaller team, we have been able to accomplish a lot this season. I would once again like to say how much I appreciate the dedication and courage of the team. More often than not, we have to be working really long hours. During really busy periods like the unloading of the ship, we sometimes have very little time to rest and the whole team has always been up to the challenge.

Our team has an important scientific program to carry out this season. Many operations are taking place in the vicinity of the station. We only had two main expeditions to support and organise. The first one involved going to the coast with the glaciologists, which allowed me to go back to the penguins rookery we visited for the virst time last year. The other big expedition took place within the framework of an important seismology program. We installed no less than 6 fixed seismology stations and 8 mobile ones, all located within 50 km from the station.

Some of you will probably remember the challenges we faced last year with the unloading of the ship. This year it was even harder! Because of difficult ice conditions, we had to travel further than 150 km West of Crown Bay to find a suitable place for the Mary Arctica to approach the iceshelf. That was quite an adventure in and of itself and we were quite relieved when everything was secured on the ice shelf after 12 hours of hard work.

A platform for polar science

While we are here in Antarctica, the International Polar Foundation carries on work on setting up the Polaris Climate Change Observatory in Cape Town as well as in Brussels, and our educational team is hard at work on some great initiatives as well.

Needless to say that all the work we do here and the international project carried out throughout the year all aim at promoting polar science. In the face of climate change, we want to convince everybody that changing mentalities is not only possible, but also necessary.

Princess Elisabeth Antarctica, the Zero Emission research station

Princess Elisabeth Antarctica, the Zero Emission research station