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Russia to build platform for Arctic research

Russia plans to replace drifting stations on ice floes with stations on platforms. (Photo: Rosatom)

Climate change forces Russia to stop using natural ice floes for Arctic research stations. The Government allocates 1,7 billion rubles to construction of a special ice-strengthened platform for future stations.

Location

To be able to continue scientific research on higher latitudes under the conditions of warming climate, Russia has to develop new technologies, the federal program “Environmental protection” reads. The program, which runs until 2020, suggests that Russia as soon as possible should start developing a self-propelled, ice- strengthened floating platform for scientific research. The project has a 1,7 billion rubles (app €42 million) price tag. 

Russia has had floating research stations in the Arctic since 1937, when the first scientific drifting ice station in the world – North Pole-1 was opened.

The last years vanishing ice has made quite a lot of problems for the scientists. To find a suitable ice floe for the current North Pole-40 station, which was established in October 2012, the icebreaker “Rossiya” had sail all around the North Pole before finding an ice floe solid enough to hold the station. None of the three floes that had been pre-evaluated from land as possible objects were considered safe enough. 

In late April 2012 the members of North Pole-39 had to move the whole research station to another ice floe because the first one was breaking up. In 2010 the scientists of North Pole-37 had to be evacuated from their diminishing ice floe by an icebreaker already in May.

As previously reported, the Arctic ice layers this year reached a historical low.

Analysis of satellite data by NASA and the NASA-supported NSIDC at the University of Colorado in Boulder showed that the sea ice extent shrunk to 3.41 million square kilometers. The former record-low from 2007 amounted to 4.17 million square kilometers.