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FRAM-2014/15 Arctic expedition complete after one year across the Arctic Ocean

August 2015


After spending a year drifting on the ice in the Arctic Ocean, two Norwegian scientists and their hovercraft returned to Norway.

On 22nd August 2015 Prof. Yngve Kristoffersen together with Audun Tholfsen arrived in Longyearbyen, Norway with the hovercraft Sabvabaa after spending one year drifting across the Arctic Ocean. The ice drift station known as FRAM-2014/15 used a 2000TD Griffon Hoverwork hovercraft, which was equipped as a scaled down modern research vessel, enabling unique measurements to be collected from the inaccessible Arctic Ocean. An ice drift station provides a logistical and scientific platform allowing areas inaccessible by ice breakers to be explored.

The FRAM-2014/15 ice drift station was deployed on August 30th 2014, 280km from the North Pole off the East Siberian coast, by the German icebreaker Polarstern. The hovercraft was supplied with provisions for one and half years. The station drifted 1900 km across the Arctic Ocean until it ended in the Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard one year later.

On 18th August the ice drift station was recovered by the sealer Havsel and Sabvabaa was escorted back to Longyearbyen. This completes the exceptional Norwegian FRAM-2014/15 ice drift station hosted by the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center in Bergen, Norway.

A sea ice camp was built up on a 1.1 meter thick and 2 square kilometres large ice floe. For nearly one year the two scientists drifted through the central Arctic Ocean crossing the Lomonosov Ridge, southwards towards the Fram Strait. During the drift seismic material and samples from the sea bed were collected which will now be analysed by researchers in Norway.

FRAM-2014/15 is the first Norwegian ice drift in the Arctic Ocean since Fridtjof Nansen´s drift with the vessel Fram 119 years ago.

"The FRAM-2014/15 expedition has been a remarkable and unique scientific expedition
collecting data from atmosphere, sea ice, ocean and seabed in an area that is essentially
unexplored because it is difficult to access with icebreakers. Yngve has proven that a hovercraft is a cost efficient and flexible platform to conduct research in the ice covered Arctic Ocean. Colleagues and friends want to congratulate Yngve and Audun with successful completion of the expedition. This has been an outstanding scientific achievement," says Director Stein Sandven at the Nansen Center.

The Environmental and Remote Sensing Center in Bergen, Norway is the coordinator of FRAM-2014/15 ice drift station with the University of Bergen and Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Germany as cooperative partners. The FRAM-2014/15 ice drift expedition is supported by Lundin Petroleum Norway AS, Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and Blodgett Hall Polar Presence LLC.

You can find more information about FRAM-2014/15 on: http://sabvabaa.nersc.no

All photos courtesy of Lasse H. Pettersson & Yngve Kristoffersen NERSC.

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