Catlin launches 2011 Arctic survey

  • Catlin's 2010 Arctic Expedition

  • Monitoring the ice: An image from a previous Catlin survey of the Arctic

    Monitoring the ice: An image from a previous Catlin survey of the Arctic


Bermuda-based insurer Catlin Group Ltd. is set to launch the latest part of its study into the potentially contributing conditions in the Arctic Ocean that cause climate change across the world.

The Catlin Arctic Survey, which is being sponsored by the company for the third straight year, will begin in March with a team of polar explorers and scientists from the US, Canada and the UK taking part in a 10-week expedition and research project to examine the surface layers of the Arctic Ocean.

The team of experts will look at everything from changes to sea temperature, to increased fresh water and ocean currents in the Arctic.

The 2011 survey will comprise information gathering and research at the Catlin Ice Base based on the sea ice at the edge of the Arctic Ocean in Canada and two missions to collect data from the murky depths below the frozen ocean surface across Prince Gustav Adolf Sea and from the North Geographic Pole towards Greenland as part of a project devised by Dr. Simon Boxall of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK.

At the mission’s floating Catlin Ice Base off Ellef Ringnes Island, US scientists from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, will be investigating how organic material in fresh water near the surface of the ocean may be trapping heat from the sun, causing the upper ocean layers to warm.

The Catlin Arctic Survey 2011 will build on research begun in 2009 and 2010 into the thickness of sea ice and ocean acidification.

Leading polar explorer and survey director Pen Hadow said the unique nature of the Catlin Arctic Survey had made vital field research into the fast-changing state of the Arctic possible.

“This type of science can only be done by or with the support of explorers,” he said. “Ocean temperatures and salinity below the sea ice cannot be measured using satellites, the passage of ships disturbs the delicate layering under the sea ice, and submarines don’t travel close enough to measure the critical first 200 metres of water.”

Stephen Catlin, chief executive of Catlin Group Ltd., said: “Ocean currents hold one of the keys to global weather patterns and ocean levels. As no one is 100 per cent sure how current changes in the Arctic could impact other regions of the world, we at Catlin are proud to sponsor scientific research to produce hard facts that will help us prepare for potential changes to our environment in the years ahead.”

More information can be found at www.catlinarcticsurvey.com

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Published Jan 27, 2011 at 9:34 am (Updated Jan 27, 2011 at 9:34 am)

Catlin launches 2011 Arctic survey

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