Polar explorer day has been celebrated on board the research vessel ‘Akademik Treshnikov’, which returned to the Murmansk sea port after a sixty-day ‘Trans Arctic 2019’ expedition.

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The date for the professional holiday of polar explorers and researchers of the Arctic and Antarctic – 21st May – was not chosen at random. On 21 May 1937, the first scientific research expedition began its work on the drifting ice station ‘North Pole-1’. ‘It is significant that on this day we meet the members of the ‘Trans Arctic 2019’ expedition. They carry on the traditions of scientific research expeditions and drifting ice stations in the high-latitude Arctic. I hope that such research will continue on an ongoing basis and we will obtain new Arctic data’, said Aleksandr Makarov in his congratulatory speech. He is the Director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) and an alumnus of St Petersburg University.

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Aleksandr Makarov was joined by Anna Bystromovich, Deputy Head of Polar and Marine Operations at Directorate for Environmental Pollution Monitoring, Polar and Marine Operations of the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring. She conveyed a message of congratulations to the polar explorers from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Also, a number of expedition members have been singled out by the leadership of Russia’s Hydrometeorology Service (Roshydromet). St Petersburg University graduate Vasily Kustov, the leader of the meteorological team of the expedition, was awarded the Certificate of Honour. Kustov began his expeditionary career as a student, when he participated in the expedition on the ‘North Pole-35’ drifting ice station. Then, in 2007, the future meteorologist did not hesitate to agree to work in the Arctic for the whole year.

To become a member of the ‘North Pole-35’ expedition was similar to travelling into space. It’s an offer you can’t refuse.

Vasily Kustov, St Petersburg University graduate, the leader of the meteorological team of the ‘Trans Arctic 2019’ expedition

Due to the aggravation of the ice situation in the Arctic it has become unsafe to conduct research work on the stationary drifting platforms ‘North Pole’. Cracks appear continuously in the ice, and it is necessary to move the camp over and over again. This problem can be solved with the help of a special ice-resistant drifting platform, which will be put into operation in 2021.

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The first stage of the ‘Trans Arctic 2019’ expedition was organised by the Roshydromet in conjunction with the AARI. It has provided the unique opportunity to scrutinise all the ice camp operational readiness measures and the main aspects of the further research work. During the voyage, the ‘Akademik Treshnikov’ has covered more than three thousand nautical miles, for three hundred of which it was drifting. Together with the ship’s crew and the helicopter squadron of the Emergencies Ministry of Russia, the polar explorers were able to solve all the organisational problems quickly and effectively. Besides, they managed to conduct a complex of studies in the high-latitude Arctic. About a thousand samples of sea water, snow and ice have been obtained; ocean water columns have been probed far from the ice camp; and ice has been studied both underwater and from the air. Aleksandra Urazgildeeva, a climatologist, who works for the Public Relations Department at St Petersburg University, studied radiative properties of pressure ridges using a drone. Whereas St Petersburg University Associate Professor Aleksei Krylov obtained data that would be useful for climatologists involved in modelling the decline of the area of Arctic sea ice.

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