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15 June 2017

Climate Change Study Cancelled due to Drifting Sea Ice

It’s not every day that the subject matter of a study prevents work from actually taking place, but that’s exactly what a Canadian research expedition has been the victim of this week.

The first leg of the Hudson Bay System Study was officially cancelled on Monday, causing huge setbacks to the $17 million, four-year long project. Formed of a forty-strong team of scientists from five Canadian universities, the expedition was set-up to look into the effects of climate change. Unfortunately, it ran into trouble when hazardous Arctic sea ice drifted south and became an issue in the Strait of Belle Isle and along the Newfoundland coast.

The reason it had moved so far down? Climate change.

With an increase in global temperature, the ice in Arctic regions has become a lot thinner, and because of this it’s a lot more susceptible to storms and high winds. When blown south, the ice gets trapped within the ocean currents and ends up moving towards land rather than out to sea. This is what resulted in the mass off of the Newfoundland coast.

The expedition team themselves weren’t actually trapped in the ice; however, their Icebreaker the CCGS Amundsen was constantly being rerouted to help out with search and rescue efforts by the Canadian Coast Guard due to a lack of other available ships.  This meant that the team struggled to complete their work and would have arrived too late to meet their research objectives, so the decision was made to call time on the study for the time being.

Although they had to cut their first leg short, the team were still able to collect some data thanks to use of state-of-the-art equipment aboard the ship. They’re hopeful that the data on the physics of the ocean, ice and atmosphere they collected will still be able to help Canada deal with other climate change related problems in the future.

This whole unfortunate situation has helped to show that climate change exists right now; it’s not something that’s going to become an issue somewhere down the line. With floods and other climate related disasters becoming more prominent, places like Canada need to start preparing themselves for how to tackle such an escalating problem.

Luckily, hopes for the Hudson Bay project aren’t completely lost. The team are expected to set off on the next leg of the expedition at the start of next month, so long as they don’t face any more challenges.

James Darvill

James is a passionate scriptwriter and reluctant poet with a talent for the dystopian. When he’s not staying up late watching the Simpsons he’s beating the world at Mario Kart, always with a glass of wine in hand.