Geopolitics

The 389-day analysis mission within the Arctic requires pressing local weather safety measures

Johannesburg, South Africa – A massive ship named RV Polarstern drifted slowly across the Arctic for 389 days, trapped in the ice. It was a scientific mission on an unprecedented scale, and participants said their results should serve as a warning that if action is not taken, people in all parts of the world will pay the price.

Just before she set sail more than a year ago, Rhode Island-born Dr. Alison Fong told CBS News that she and her colleagues on Pole Star “wanted to create a complete picture of what the Arctic will do for years to come.” ”

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Scientists collect an ice sample from the Arctic Ocean to study the effects of climate change on the sensitive region while their ship, RV Polarstern, waits behind them.

Alfred Wegener Institute / Lianna Evans Nixon

The picture that emerged from their makeshift laboratories on ice and high-tech equipment is not particularly pretty. It is devastating evidence, say the scientists, of a dying Arctic Ocean where human-made ice-free summers could become a reality in just decades Greenhouse gases are warming the planet.


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“As a scientist, I think we need to be more open about the crisis we are facing,” Fong told CBS News. “We know that what we’ve done is causing the temperature and carbon dioxide to rise on Earth, and that is causing warming, and that warming is causing both the north and south to melt. And that Loss of this ice, both in the north and south, changes the way the climate works significantly. ”

scientist say it is refueling increased forest fires in the US, more severe hurricanes and more extreme floods and periods of drought around the world.


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The research team defied polar bears, days of complete darkness and isolation for months. In addition to the research done during the mission, they also brought ice samples home for further examination.

But the world to which they had returned after more than a year in the ice looked very different. They left dry land before anyone heard of COVID-19 and stepped back on solid ground last month amid a pandemic.

“Some people think that perhaps because of this focus on the global pandemic, we also cannot address the issues of climate and global warming. But they are not exclusive,” Fong said. “We try to do things. But the reality is that trying is no longer enough. We have to take action.”

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The researcher Dr. Alison Fong looks through the Arctic sea ice aboard RV Polarstern during a year-long mission to assess the effects of climate change on the Arctic.

Alfred Wegener Institute / Lianna Evans Nixon

In part, this campaign amounts to what climatologists and environmental activists have been calling for for years: produce clean energy, recycle it, misuse it and consume less.

“But at the other level, we need to reach out to and influence those in positions of power so that they realize that there is a reason to choose something other than what we have chosen over the past 50 to 100 years,” said Fong . “The choices we have to make to save humanity must be different.”

She believes that different decisions of this magnitude must be made at national and international level in order to stop the damage to our warming world.

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