Documentary drawings of a scientific expedition to the Arctic
Climate changes in the Arctic currently take place at an unprecedented pace and intensity. An international team of climate researchers undertook an expedition to Spitsbergen in the Arctic Ocean to understand the causes and effects of the drastic Arctic climate changes. The expedition is part of the ongoing research project “Arctic Amplification: Climate relevant atmospheric and surface processes, and feedback mechanisms (AC)³“.
Kerstin Heymach accompanied the scientists as part of the team to Longyearbyen and Ny-Ålesund at Spitsbergen in May and June 2017. In the tradition of earlier expedition drawers, her pastels, drawings, sketches and interviews illustrate the difficult work of the researchers. By Heymach’s reports you get the feeling: Team spirit and enthusiasm, responsibility, and passion are preconditions for successful scientific work. The time of separated, isolated science is long gone, cooperation is a major prerequisite for success and necessarily needed to advance. The ongoing climate changes are unusual and alarming.
The Arctic Ocean could be ice free by the mid of this century if the warming continues at the current pace. The ice-albedo effect, i. e. “Arctic Amplification”, would be one of the involved processes. The ice melts, dark water or land comes to the surface, reflects less sunlight, absorbs more radiation: a self amplifying mechanism. What is the role of water vapor, aerosol particles and clouds or the changed heat transport from the mid-latitudes to the Arctic? What is man-made, what is not? These are the questions to which the scientists try to find answers.