Explorers Connect

2015 Arctic Ocean Sea Ice Observation: Citizen Science at the North Pole

CommunityJames Hipkiss

We are currently fundraising for this expedition. Please see below for details: The Project this July and August, expedition photographer Lauren Farmer and geologist Alex Cowan will be expedition staff on board nuclear-powered icebreaker50 let Pobedy. During four return trips from Murmansk, we will break through 1-3 meters of sea ice to take 520 adventurous travelers to stand on top of the world at the Geographic North Pole. Our aim with this citizen science project is to prove to the polar tourism industry that we can be more than just visitors to the most remote and fragile environments of our earth. With our extended access to these areas, we are in a position to collect and deliver extensive sea ice data to institutes and organisations who desperately seek it.Our desired data set will include a record of melt pond coverage using aerial photos and video taken from a helicopter, visual observations of ice type, coverage and thickness from the bridge of our ship every 2 hours and down on the ice, measurements of melt pond depth and salinity, as well as the depth of any deteriorating ice layers.Why Is This Important?The Arctic Ocean is seeing dramatic changes in its sea ice coverage. Rapidly melting sea ice is not only an indicator of climate change but has potentially disastrous effects for polar bears and other creatures who make their home in the ice. The sea ice is as important to the health of the Arctic Ocean ecosystem as trees are to a rainforest; the ice provides a habitat for the algae that are the oceans primary producers, converting sunlight to energy and supplying the rest of the food chain.

Why a Kickstarter? Alex and Lauren are currently self-funding the equipment required to collect these data, and this Kickstarter Campaign is an opportunity to recoup those costs. But more so, this is a chance for YOU to join the growing citizen science movement. Science does not need to be the reserve of governments, universities and laboratories. EVERYONE can play a part in furthering our knowledge of our planet and doing what we can to protect it.In addition, this project is a proof of concept. Our partners and advisors are very excited about the prospect of having access to tour vessels as research platforms, and we hope that success in this project will encourage other tour companies and scientific institutes to fund further projects themselves. This one Kickstarter could lead to numerous future projects and a huge increase in Arctic Ocean knowledge in the future.Whats The Money For?The $3,750 we are trying to raise covers our equipment costs. This equipment includes: GPS Altimeters rechargeable batteries Salinity and Temperature Sensor Refractometers Waders to make sure we don't freeze while standing in melt ponds GoPros for video recording, mounts batteries Lacie Hard Drives Weatherproof Notebooks Titanium melt pond measurement tools.