Alison McLure, the IOP’s National Officer in Scotland is to join the British Schools Exploring Society (BSES) Extreme Arctic 2010 in Svalbard this April. During the expedition she will keep us up to date with regular features on her research project and life in the Arctic.
Preparations for the expedition go on apace. The BSES are working hard to make sure that all the necessary equipment for the expedition is sent out. Also last minute checks are made to make sure that all the members of the expedition are ready to go. The science plans have been written and contacts with expert scientists established. The chief leader and base camp supervisor are already in Svalbard, checking the equipment and making sure that everything is ready for the main party’s arrival in only a few days time.
They have even installed an Automatic Weather Station near the glacier on which we will be working. Data from this will be useful for all our scientific investigations, especially the geomorphology study on slush melt.
Despite the cold winter in the UK, the temperature recently in Svalbard has been unusually mild – pretty close to freezing at times. Normally at this time of year you would expect temperatures of around minus 12 Celsius. This might have implications for the expedition, there is a large river to cross, which isn’t a problem when frozen, but if it melts our plans will have to change drastically, since we’ll not be able to cross it.
A few of the leader team went to Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, run by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, to look at the Barnacle geese we’ll be studying in Svalbard. The geese should be leaving Scotland soon to go to Svalbard as well as they winter on the Solway Firth. I wonder if they are as excited as we are?