TUBITAK, Naval Forces Command, General Directorate of Meteorology, Anadolu Agency, research institutes, universities and the research team consisting of foreign scientists who participated in the expedition within the scope of bilateral cooperation, with the 62-meter Norwegian-flagged research ship “PolarXplorer”, which had living spaces for about 1 month, and 81 It reached the sea ice line at degrees north latitude.
The team completed all their scientific work by sampling and measuring at 28 station points.
The expedition was carried out under the auspices of the Presidency, under the responsibility of the Ministry of Industry and Technology and under the coordination of TUBITAK MAM Polar Research Institute.
Shedding light on the future of the world, the expedition team carried out scientific research for 14 different projects at sampling points in the Barents Sea.
The work of the scientific team, marine and life sciences, ecosystem adapted to the Arctic Ocean, fish and sea creatures, phytoplankton sampling, determination of pollutants in the sea, monitoring of seawater physical parameters, atmospheric pollution observations in the marine area, meteorological observations, new trade routes to the environment. effects and periodical analysis, observation of sea ice and monitoring of marine mammals.
“We have completed the process with a success beyond what was planned”
Captain Özgün Oktar, the Leader of the National Arctic Scientific Research Expedition, said in a statement regarding the expedition, stating that they worked at 28 different sampling points, and that they completed the process with a success beyond the planned:
“Of course, the polar regions have very different meanings for scientists. In addition to being the places where climate change is experienced and observed the fastest, we see that the ecosystem here has changed from the lowest point to the highest point with the effects of climate change. Observing them means observing the world, in fact. “The month of July, in which we completed our expedition, went down in history as the hottest month in the world when we look at the world averages. We also live in the Arctic region. We are at a time when the air temperature is about 10 degrees at 78 degrees north latitude. This is of course the environment and climate. “We can see that with this warming, the glaciers melt, disappear and merge into the sea over time.”
Polar bear visit to expedition crew at sampling point 11
The scientists, who were carrying out their routine work at the 11th sampling point at 80.1 latitude, had to interrupt their work in the first hour of the sampling, when 2 polar bears approached the ship.
Although the reason for their approach to the ship is not known exactly, it is known that polar bears, one of the creatures most affected by climate change, have approached people in recent years due to the increase in temperature, melting of sea ice and lack of food.
Noting that the two polar bears, mother and baby, who wanted to climb onto the deck of the ship over the sea ice, it was possible that they had traveled a long way to find food and came towards the smell coming from the ship, Oktar continued:
“The polar bears, which live only in the Arctic and are protected, are actually a species threatened by climate change and human impact. Of course, it was a frightening moment for us that they got this close to our ship. We followed the behavior of the bears after we were all safe on the bridge. “We expected them to make a move to the ship from there. However, the smell of the exhaust probably disturbed them and they went away. These creatures are creatures that travel and hunt on sea ice. They hunt seals and other species. However, with the changing climate, sea ice is rapidly growing in the Arctic region. By 2030, perhaps there will be no sea ice left in the summer season, which means that polar bears’ feeding grounds will disappear.”
Saying that seeing polar bears so close up is both pleasing and frightening, Oktar said, “Thinking about their future broke our hopes a bit. We hope that we can better understand the causes of climate change and act to reduce the impact of humanity here.”
Eastern sycamore fruit is the solution to the pollution in the waters of the Arctic Ocean
On the other hand, the project, which won the “Water Category” in the TÜBİTAK BİDEB 2204-D High School Students’ Climate Change Research Projects competition, was tested in the Arctic Ocean to find a solution to the oil pollution spreading on the ocean surface.
Coordinator of the 3rd National Arctic Scientific Research Expedition, who led the test studies for the project created by putting the fibers obtained from the sycamore fruit into the pouches. Dr. Burcu Özsoy also said, “One of the biggest risks in shipping is oil pollution spreading to the sea and ocean surface. Technologies related to oil pollution have been open to developments for a very long time. Today, efficient technology and method have not been reached. In this sense, our student’s work is a very serious and positive thing for us. project,” he said.
Expressing that they carried out the analysis of the project in the Arctic Ocean, Özsoy said, “We will create an experimental area for our students. Of course, we have no intention of polluting the ocean extra, but we will create the environment where our student will do an analysis, apply the test, try out the equipment, and we will create the environment in the sea and ocean water together. We will test together how to clean this oil.”
The student who won the first place in the TÜBİTAK BİDEB 2204-D High School Students Climate Change Research Projects competition, which was also announced at TEKNOFEST, had the opportunity to test his project in the Arctic Ocean as part of the expedition.
Foreign research station visits from the expedition team
There are 20 research facilities belonging to 13 countries on Svalbard (Spitsbergen) Island to conduct scientific studies on the Arctic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean.
During the expedition, the team of the 3rd National Arctic Scientific Research Expedition visited the Polish Polar Research Station, the Russian research stations in Barentsburg, the former Russian mining town of Pyramiden and the Korean base in Ny Alesund. The team also delivered seawater samples taken for the Italian researchers’ project to the Italian research station during the expedition.
Emphasizing the importance of visiting foreign science bases in terms of international cooperation, Oktar expressed the following views:
“We are going to visit the Polish base again in our 3rd National Arctic Scientific Expedition. It is fruitful to develop many cooperations and to establish a close relationship between scientists. We currently have 3 foreign researchers with us with our cooperations arising from our previous visits. From now on, we are going to visit the Polish base. We will continue to see Turkish scientists both in foreign polar expeditions and foreign scientists in Turkish expeditions.”
The scientific team also visited the Polish Polar Research Station, which is located on the island of Svalbard. The team received information from the station manager Daniel Kepski, visited the laboratories, meteorology stations and social areas in the station, and received information from the scientists working in the field.
The team also visited the Polish Polar Research Station, located near Horsund Fjord, on the southern part of Spitsbergen Island.
Here, the team was accompanied by Daniel Kepski, the 46th Expeditionary Leader of the Polish Polar Research Station.
Participant of the 3rd National Arctic Scientific Expedition, Dr. Göksu Uslular also stated that they measured the physical parameters of the sea water and took water samples from the points determined on the Barents Sea, which they passed during the voyage.
Uslular explained that the samplings were carried out both as a continuation of the project carried out by TÜBİTAK MAM KARE and within the scope of the project to be carried out jointly with the Italian Polar Research Institute.
Emphasizing that Italian researchers did not participate in the expedition to reduce their carbon footprint, Dr. Uslular said, “We will deliver the samples taken on behalf of the Italian researchers to the Italian Dirigibile Arctic Station in Ny Alesund and deliver them to the relevant researchers for further analysis.”
Making a short visit to Ny Alesund, a town with 12 different research stations from different countries located at 79 north latitude, the scientific team took a group photo in front of the statue of Ronald Amundsen, the Norwegian explorer who set foot first on the north pole and second on the south pole.
Located 60 kilometers west of Longyearbyen and the second largest settlement of the Svalbard archipelago, Barentsburg has accommodation areas for researchers, chemistry laboratories and an observatory at the research station affiliated with the Russian academy of sciences. At the same time, there is a museum in Barentsburg where archaeological works of the past years are exhibited.
The scientific team was also informed by the authorities of the Barentsburg Scientific Research Center as part of the visit to closely examine the work of foreign scientists.
Cruising about 5,500 kilometers, the expedition crew explored the sea ice that started at 81 degrees north latitude, the glaciers that broke up and joined the sea due to climate change, the Svalbard archipelago and the Barents Sea, where they passed during the cruise, including humpback, Minke whales, dolphin, seal species, walrus, polar He observed bears and dozens of bird species.