Sounds of the planet

Remote sensing: using Physics to explore and monitor our environment

08 July 2014 - First day in the Arctic

📥  From the field

Research takes us all over the world to get new measurements, test new theories, and apply what we know (or what we would want to know) to many types of applications. I am starting this blog with my first days in the Arctic, en route to the Polish Polar Station.

The flight from Oslo arrived in Longyearbyen, Svalbard's international airport, just around midnight. Coaches took all arriving passengers to their destinations, mainly in town, and we spent the night at Mary Ann's Hotel, built from refurbished miners' accommodations from the 1950s. But who is "we"? And what are we planning to do?

This field trip is about the underwater noise created by glaciers and melting icebergs, how it links to underwater sound in general (marine life and human activities) and how it can be used to investigate the effects of climate change.

This trip is sponsored by the Polish National Science Centre, with a research grant to Prof. Jaroslaw (Jarek) Tegowski. Prof. Grant Deane (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA) and myself (for the University of Bath, UK) complete the team. We each bring different experiences, and different instruments, for this summer's field work.

Today is spent sorting out research permits with the Governor of Svalbard (very efficient and down-to-earth administration) and stowing equipment aboard the Polish Research Vessel R/V Horyzont II. She will take us to the Polish Polar Station after resupplying several other research stations on the way (there are no roads, and most of these stations are in very remote places). First stop tonight: Pyramiden, next to the abandoned mining town and the pyramid-shaped mountain giving its name to the place. Glaciers are everywhere, and the white of the snow combines harmoniously with the black or dark blue of the sea.

Next to Pyramiden

Next to Pyramiden - Arctic mining