“Arctic Floating University” crossed the Arctic Circle
The seventh expedition of the project «Arctic Floating University», which started on July 1, continues to investigate the high latitudes according to the schedule. Not much time has passed since the beginning of the expedition, but its participants had a lot to see and to learn.
The first day began with the safety training, which is extremely important for Arctic travelers. The crew of the research vessel «Professor Molchanov» showed the participants how to use diving suits and life jackets, how to get into lifeboats and how to control water usage on the vessel.
On July, 2 the research vessel reached the shores of Solovetsky archipelago, and scientific group organized the first landing — short but very productive. Soil and chemical scientific unit took the samples of soil, cartographic and geodetic unit made a topographic survey and map of the area. Some members of the expedition (including several foreign researchers) went on a tour around the Solovetsky monastery and met their colleagues — participants of the Summer School of NArFU «Integrated development of the territory with unique natural, historical and cultural heritage: Solovetsky archipelago case study». This summer school has been organized here for two years already.
In the morning of the third day of the expedition the Hydrometeorological block started the new oceanographical survey. At certain points of the route the researchers gathered samples of seawater from various depths and also measured temperature and salinity of water, wind direction and speed, cloudiness, air humidity.
On the 4th of July «Professor Molchanov» crossed the Arctic Circle. According to the tradition all participants of the expedition gathered on the upper deck of the vessel and took communion with the water of the Barents Sea. This is a so-called rite of passage to polar researchers; all who pass it receive a certificate confirming that they really crossed the Arctic Circle (with coordinates 66º 33’44º).
The main scientific event of that day was the launch of a new medical unit led by Artem Podoplekin, deputy director of the Biomedical Research Institute of NArFU. Since that day the new health monitoring system began to work on the vessel.
Scientific group of Artem Podoplekin plans that all expedition members would go through three medical examinations — one at the beginning, one in the middle and one in the end of the expedition. The culminating moment will be a test at the highest latitudes during the voyage, near Svalbard and Franz Josef Land. This data is going to be unique.
This year «Arctic Floating University», the joint project of Northern (Arctic) Federal University and Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, supported by the Russian Geographical Society, has got international status. «Arctic Floating University» involved young researchers from eight countries — Russia, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Canada, USA and Finland.
More details about the events of «Arctic Floating University» you can find in the diaries of the expedition: http://www.narfu.ru/science/expeditions/floating_university/2015/expedition_journal/.