Change of personnel at the “North Pole-41” drift station | Polarjournal
Difficult operation, the polar drift expedition “North Pole-41” was supplied with fresh food and new personnel in the dark at the beginning of January. (Photo: AARI)

An operation was successfully carried out in the Arctic Ocean to deliver supplies and transfer polar researchers to the “North Pole-41” drift station. Fresh food, consumables and equipment for scientific research were delivered. For many scientists, this is the second New Year they have spent at the station in the ice of the Arctic Ocean, and for them the most important thing was the mail from home.

˶They have been conducting large-scale research on the natural environment of the Arctic for almost a year and a half,˝ said Alexander Makarov, Director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) in St. Petersburg.

New personnel are flown by helicopter from the “Akademik Treshnikov” to the drift station. (Photo: AARI)

The operation was carried out under difficult conditions during the polar night. On the way to the drift ice station, the icebreaker RV “Akademik Treshnikov” got caught in a storm in the Barents Sea, then overcame the zone of one-year ice and began to drift as close as possible to the edge of the multi-year ice to reach the platform.

Goods and people were then transferred to the “North Pole-41” by helicopter in the area of 82°N and 43°E. The expedition team was extended by three specialists: a new head of the hydrochemical group, a geologist and a polar bear guard, who is responsible for the safety of the scientists in the event of polar bears appearing in the working area.

Distance already traveled by the drift ice station “North Pole-41”. The polar station “North Pole-41” is currently drifting in a zone of predominantly old ice north of Franz Josef Land and has moved in a south-westerly direction over the last three days to a distance of around 18.2 km. (Map: AARI)

Now the coldest time of the year begins in the Arctic; the air temperature in the drift area drops to -35°C. The average thickness of the base ice field is around 2 meters. The ice situation has recently been relatively calm: individual longitudinal and transverse cracks remain in the base field, in the immediate vicinity of several ice breaks. Since the station was launched in October 2022, the expedition has covered around 3,000 kilometers. From the starting point in the ice, the expedition has now drifted more than 1,300 kilometers.

The “North Pole-41” expedition will continue until spring 2024 and then return to Murmansk, where the station will be maintained. In August 2024, the platform will travel north and set off on the “North Pole-42” expedition as reported by the AARI press service.

The icebreaker “Akademik Treshnikov” went into operation on October 10, 2012 to support Russian expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic and to exchange various cargoes/supplies, as well as personnel on stations. (Photo: (AARI)

The scientific expedition ship “Akademik Treshnikov” returned to Murmansk after completing all its tasks in the Arctic. In February, the ship will sail to Antarctica to support the tasks of the 69th Russian Antarctic Expedition of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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