University of Groningen: New polar expedition to Spitsbergen headed by UG researchers

A large group of researchers will once again travel to Spitsbergen on a polar expedition under the leadership of researchers from the Arctic Centre of the UG . They will research the rapid warming of the polar regions from the perspective of different scientific disciplines. UG researchers Maarten Loonen, Annette Scheepstra, and Frits Steenhuisen are leading the expedition. Last Saturday, the participants held a meeting in Groningen in preparation for their journey. The first polar expedition organized [PP1] by this group took place in 2015.

In the polar regions, global warming is taking place four times faster than anywhere else in the world. The expedition to Spitsbergen will identify these changes in a region that has barely been touched by humankind. During the polar expedition, referred to as SEES (Netherlands Scientific Expedition Edgeøa Svalbard), the participants will gather data on location and compare these data to those from 2015 to understand the changes. Many interest groups will gather during the expedition: scientists, policymakers, politicians, and media. There are also hopes that this expedition will strengthen international cooperation with Norway in the area of polar research.

Different disciplines
The researchers participating in the expedition are all working on their own projects, which are distributed over nine different topics including biodiversity, ice research, archaeology, nature perception, and pollution. Most participants were selected by a committee of the Dutch Research Council (NWO). They presented their research projects during the meeting in Groningen. Intensive collaboration between different disciplines is crucial to finding answers on all topics during the expedition.

In total, 50 professional researchers and 50 paying tourists will participate, both contributing to the research. Moreover, there is room for some journalists (including the NOS), policymakers, and politicians.

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