1 March 2007
« We are the only people currently based in the central Arctic Basin »
1st March 2007 marks the official global launch of the International Polar Year (IPY) at the Palais de la Decouverte in Paris.
This is an important event for the 170 participating scientific projects, including Tara Arctic – Damocles. At the start of this ambitious coordinated international science programme, covering a wide range of research disciplines in northern and southern Polar Regions, we are the only people currently based in the central Arctic Basin studying climate change. To be in place and ready to undertake a full year of research we were required to position Tara in the ice at the end of summer last September, when the sea ice was at its minimum, hence we have already been installed in the High Arctic for the last 6 months. During this initial period Tara has preformed up to expectations in every respect, rising onto the ice during moments of extreme ice pressure as intended by her architects, and providing us with a comfortable cocoon from the extreme conditions outside. The first winter has been an important time for installing and testing scientific material, including meteorological and oceanographic sensors, in preparation for the arrival of many visiting scientists in April. Although modern technology now allows us to collect data remotely or via in-situ autonomous instruments, we can confirm that a human presence is still vitally important for operating and maintaining such research activities in these harsh conditions. As such, the human side of our expedition is equally important for its success, the cohesion of our international team on board demonstrating the spirit of international cooperation crucial for the success of the IPY.