Turkish scientists head to Arctic Ocean for second expedition

Ateam of nine scientists is headed north for Türkiye’s second Arctic expedition sponsored by the government and coordinated by the country’s top science body. Professor Burcu Ozsoy, who previously led Turkish scientists in an Antarctica expedition, is leading this expedition as well, Trend reports citing Daily Sabah.

The scientists’ journey began with a flight to Oslo, Norway before they headed to Tromso and boarded the PolarXplorer research vessel. For 20 days, they will be out in the Barents Sea for their research. They will work on 14 different projects throughout this period, from monitoring marine life to pollution in the atmosphere, meteorological observations, determination of marine pollutants, physical parameters of seawater and the impact of marine trade routes on the environment, as well as the presence of microplastics in the sea.

Ozsoy said on Thursday that their past six expeditions to the South Pole “made waves” and they released nearly 100 scientific publications from studies they conducted during the expeditions. “Our expedition to the North Pole is as important. Like the south, it is affected by climate change and has a vast basis for scientific information, for physical, ground sciences, science branches examining living creatures and social sciences,” she said.

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the expedition that Turkey first held in 2019 and with restrictions related to the pandemic largely lifted, the team was free to travel.

Ozsoy says their projects will particularly focus on “where the world is going” due to climate change.

The expedition will end in the Svalbard archipelago, a strategic location. Last month, a draft law for Türkiye’s participation in the Spitsbergen (Svalbard) Treaty was presented to the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) for ratification. The treaty, signed in 1920, regulates the demilitarization of the archipelago and grants equal rights to signatory countries to engage in commercial activities in the archipelago. Ozsoy says the treaty will be beneficial for scientific research as well, especially facilitating the collection of scientific samples in the region.

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