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. Here Alison explains what Extreme Arctic 2010 is all about.
Our expedition to Svalbard, in Arctic Norway, will begin in early April where we will be faced with challenging lows of around -25°C. As spring turns to summer we will experience 24 hours of daylight with daily temperatures soaring to a balmy 0°C, forcing back the winter blanket of snow and ice to reveal the striking tundra beneath. Svalbard’s summer visiting birds bring life back to the archipelago, a truly magical place.
As winter recedes, life slowly returns to Svalbard and work on the research projects can begin. We will be studying glaciology and geomorphology by glacial mapping using differential GPS (accurate to 2cm) and taking accurate measurements of spring melt surge studies. We will also be taking meteorological observations.
There will be and ornithological surveys of indicator species of Svalbard, including studying the behaviour of barnacle and pink footed geese, which will have migrated from Britain to breed in Svalbard. We will also survey a remote colony of Northern fulmars.
All of these projects will contribute to the BSES long term research that began over three years ago. The plan is to build data year on year to establish a body of knowledge in specific regions. This means that the main body of the fieldwork is repeat science. By employing this method, we hope to build a picture of the region as an indicator for the whole of Svalbard and wider environments.