Investment Portal of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation

Making polar explorers' dreams come true

Severny Polyus-41 drifting polar station begins operation in the Arctic

5 october 2022

The opening of the Russian polar station took place on 2 October at 7 a.m. The ice-resistant self-propelled Severny Polyus platform docked at the edge of an ice field of about 42 square kilometres north of Henrietta Island. Experts from the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute unloaded transport, equipment and machinery onto the ice, deployed field research laboratories and transmitted the first weather report to 'the mainland.'

The Severny Polyus platform is to be frozen into the ice. Safety is guaranteed by the special shape of the hull, which optimally distributes the load from compression of the ice—they will push the vessel to the surface. Instead of with the ice field, the platform will drift into the Greenland Sea. When she passes the Fram Strait, she will return on her own to Murmansk, from where she made her maiden voyage to the Central Arctic earlier in September.

It is difficult to predict exactly how long the expedition will last. Severny Polyus can drift for up to two years. All the while, scientists will be conducting research, collecting data on the Arctic. They will be the first direct observation data from the Central Arctic in a decade: the Severny Polyus-40 expedition left the Arctic Ocean in 2013.

The 2022 expedition will resume the work begun in 1937, when four polar explorers under the command of Ivan Papanin first set out for the Arctic. Since then, the polar stations have been studying the region for 75 years, but in the 21st century, the programme had to be suspended due to global warming. The area of Arctic sea ice has been severely reduced and it has become dangerous to make observations from the ice. To solve this problem, the world's first ice-resistant self-propelled platform, Severny Polyus, was built. It was the dream of generations of polar explorers.

The Severny Polyus platform is a real floating research centre. It is home to 15 laboratories covering the entire spectrum of Arctic research, from sea ice studies to space observations.

Research is needed not only to understand the processes taking place in the Arctic but also to ensure the safety of navigation along the North Sea Route.

'The climate in the Arctic continues to be actively transformed. Its current hallmark is the high variability of ice conditions in the seas of the Arctic Ocean. Ice volume will decrease as ice thickness decreases, but the previously predicted seasonal disappearance of ice cover in the Arctic Ocean will not occur by 2050. The period from 2030 to 2050 will be the phase of lower air temperatures during the 70-year fluctuation, and ice conditions in the Arctic seas will be similar to current conditions,' thinks Alexander Makarov, director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute and participant in the expedition.

Participants in the Severny Polyus-41 expedition will help verify this prediction by gathering information on climate change. Geological, acoustic, geophysical and oceanographic surveys can all be carried out by scientists using the latest equipment, including drones. They don't have to sacrifice comfort: the Severny Polyus has a comfortable single cabin for each researcher, and in their spare time, they can work out in the gym or swim in the pool.

However, the polar explorers will not need to stay in the Arctic for the whole two years. Every four months, a helicopter will bring new research teams on board. Those wishing to get to the Severny Polyus are already lined up, as this ice-resistant platform will be the leading scientific base in the high latitudes.

Read more The Arctic Awaits The ice-resistant self-propelled platform North Pole will soon set out on its maiden voyage


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