“Akademik Treshnikov” Approaches “North Pole” Platform

Встреча «Академика Трёшникова» и платформы «Северный полюс». Фото: Александр Зубков/ААНИИ
Встреча «Академика Трёшникова» и платформы «Северный полюс». Фото: Александр Зубков/ААНИИ

Two research vessels of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, "Akademik Treshnikov" and the platform "North Pole", met in the Arctic Ocean at a point with the coordinates 83 °35'N 50°41'E. A new shift of polar explorers, research equipment, and food supplies were delivered to the polar station, which has been drifting in high latitudes for more than 10 months.

It took the “Akademik Treshnikov” less than four days to cover the way from Murmansk to the drifting station "North Pole – 41". The weather conditions were favorable – there were no fogs and strong winds. The approach course to the ice-resistant platform was built with the help of aerial reconnaissance conducted by the Ka-32 helicopter.

Moving through the ice fields at an average speed of 6-8 knots, the “Akademik Treshnikov” approached the “North Pole” platform and moored to the left side. This will make it easy and safe to change the expedition staff and transfer cargo.

“It is the height of summer in the Arctic, and processes of gradual destruction and reduction of the ice area are observed in the area of the drifting station. The melting of the ice field of the station is noticeable from the lower surface, thawed- through patches and snowdrifts of up to 40 cm deep are visible. The situation does not allow for safe research on ice, so the equipment is lifted onto the ship and scientific work is carried out from the side of the ice-resistant platform. At the same time, satellite monitoring data show that several extensive ice fields are located near the station. If the helicopter aerial survey confirms this and our specialists choose a more stable ice floe for the research camp, we will carry out an operation to moor the ice-resistant platform "North Pole" to the new field. This will significantly increase the drift period of the polar station and collect additional materials about the changing climate of the Arctic region," said Aleksandr Makarov, director of AARI.

During the joint drift of the two vessels, all scientific research will be continued. In particular, it is planned to survey the condition of drifting buoys and install additional equipment to the north of the test site. Data from these devices are used to refine forecasts of the ice situation on the Northern Sea Route.

It is expected that the work will last 10 days. After that, the “Akademik Treshnikov” will return to Murmansk.