Leaving Ny-Ålesund

Greenpeace International’s Comms Project Manager,Dave Walsh writes from the Esperanza, as the Arctic Under Pressure Expedition 2010 sadly comes to an end.

Following its return from the far north of Svalbard, where it had been looking at the incredible ocean life, the Esperanza spent the last few days in Ny-Ålesund. The small Arctic research base looks a lot different since our last visit; a lot of the snow has melted, and the tundra has taken on what appears to us to be a rather intense shade of green – bear in mind, we haven’t seen much green at all for a while, so it’s all relative. The barnacle geese are marching about with furry goslings in tow, and the Arctic fox vixen that has a den beneath the Dutch research station can be seen with her giddy collection of fuzzy grey cubs in tow.

The local human traffic has increased too; we only saw a couple of other vessels visiting the last time, now several cruise ships per day stop in Ny-Ålesund, disgorging hundreds of tourists ashore for a couple of hours at a time.

We left Ny-Ålesund on June 6th, after having help set up the biggest experiment ever to investigate ocean acidification leaving our friends from IFM-GEOMAR to spend the next few weeks investigating future scenarios of what carbon dioxide pollution means for our oceans. The nine big ‘mesocosms’ – 17m high ‘test tubes’, transported from Germany on the Esperanza’s helideck, have spent those weeks anchored just off shore from Ny-Ålesund, each one representing predicted levels of CO2 in the future.

GREENPEACE BLOG, 13 July 2010. Full article.

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