B.I.G. Expedition hits Canada for Arctic ice research, Before It’s Gone

A UK-led, international study, which is co-sponsored by Environment Journal, are preparing to ski over the oldest sea ice in the world’s most northerly ocean. 

top view of ice land

Departing 9th April 2024, The B.I.G. Expedition is heading to Nanavut, Canada, for the next phase of the Before It’s Gone Arctic ice research project. 

Set to be dropped by plane somewhere close to tiny uninhabited Borden Island, participants will then ski east over the Prince Gustav Adolf Sea – where the oldest sea ice in the Arctic Ocean accumulates – before making landfall on the remote Ellef Rignes Island. 

The journey is fraught with challenges, including constantly shifting terrain under foot, the formation of ice rubble known as pressure ridges which can suddenly part to reveal perishing water below, and temperatures bottoming out at -40C. Extreme weather has already delayed plans, with the crew’s initial flight unable to land at the deployment point. 

What began as a team of six British women, led by famed meteorologist Felicity Aston MBE, who spent three years stationed at the British Antarctic Survey research station at the Antarctic Peninsula, today the B.I.G. Expedition has grown into an international network of like-minded and daring individuals. 

While most do not have a formal background in climate science, after being selected they have undergone training, which is then put into practice out in the field. In Nanavut, for example, samples of snow, ice and water will be taken, giving researchers a better insight into this remote environment, and the changes underway due to issues such as carbon absorption and plastic pollution. 

We’ll be keeping up to date with the B.I.G. Expedition, and you can track progress in real time here.


More on B.I.G. Expedition and the Arctic: 

The year we broke our global warming promise

Arctic Ocean now has plastic pollution comparable to densely populated regions

Exclusive footage from the B.I.G North Pole Expedition

Image: Matt Palmer


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