February 9, 2018

Lauren and the Polar Collective team are thrilled to have been featured as Arctic Ambassadors for Citizen Science by NASA and it's GLOBE Observer program. 

Click through to read the full interview with Lauren, and thank you to the GLOBE team for their ongoing support as we extend the cloud observation program to more and more vessels in the polar tourism industry!

September 27, 2017

You may have noticed some changes around here... this site has taken on new life! While we will continue to keep you up to date on all things Sea Ice Research Team, our efforts have expanded to an exciting new project...

The Polar Citizen Science Collective aims to empower the polar tourism industry to make valuable contributions to scientific research. Have a look around and click on the PROJECTS tab to see what we're up to. 

Thank you for your continued support and please do get in touch if you'd like to learn more about setting up a citizen science program on your expedition vessel, or participating in research while on your trip of a lifetime!

June 5, 2017

We are pleased to announce that this data collection project has been officially endorsed by the Year of Polar Prediction.

YOPP's mission is to enable a significant improvement in environmental prediction capabilities for the polar regions and beyond, by coordinating a period of intensive observing, modelling, verification, user-engagement and education activities.

This endorsement allows us to more easily collaborate with additional partners in the science community and significantly increases the reach and use of our data. 

May 24, 2017

Another North Pole season is upon us and soon Alex, Annette and Lauren will be flying to Murmansk to join our Poseidon Expeditions team on board Russian icebreaker 50 let Pobedy. We've been working hard these past few months to expand our sea ice data collection project to include atmospheric observations, and we're thrilled to be coordinating with NASA and their GLOBE Observer program to record a key set of data which will be useful in their understanding of how cloud type and distribution relate to sea ice state, and other interesting climate questions. We're also looking forward to working with the Norwegian Ice Desk in creating a real-time feedback cycle on satellite imagery used to create ice charts. While our 2017 North Pole season is shorter than in years past, with only 2 cruises from Murmansk to the pole, we hope to provide valuable data and insight to our partners in the science community. And of course, we're looking forward to being back on top of the world and are hoping for many wonderful polar bear encounters! We will post as regularly as we can, but you can look forward to a detailed recap mid-July. Thank you for your continued support! 

July 7, 2016

Excitingly our project update was published last week while we were away in Eos, the Transactions of the American Geophysical Union! Click this link to read it!

July 7, 2016

We have just completed a cruise around the archipelago of Svalbard and collected sea ice data with tourists along the edge of the pack ice. It is much harder to collect data when at the pack edge instead of deep inside it, and it is also very difficult to estimate ice thickness when not breaking and overturning the floes. This is a challenge but we are hopeful that the data will prove useful and will wait to hear what our advisors think, as there is a huge potential for crowd-sourcing data from the ice edge, with ships up here several days of the week at certain times of year.

December 4, 2015

Our project has been featured in the Fall Log of The Explorers Club. This is a quarterly journal that comes in the mail to all members across the world. 

November 25, 2015

We've had a hectic week, first flying to Seattle to present at the Arctic Observing Open Science Meeting where our work was well received and we found some exciting leads to follow up on in the future, including deploying remote sensing buoys at the ice edge and at the North Pole! It was also wonderful to finally meet our advisors, who have so generously given their help and advice through the process, and to hand over the data we spent so much time collecting.

Then we flew back to NYC, arriving just in time to speak at The Explorers Club, who had recognised our project as a Flag Expedition. It was exciting to explain what we and our backers have achieved to a full house of members, fellows and guests, and hopefully our talk will be available online to watch again soon. We were also sad to have to finally return Explorers Club Flag #69 after a long summer travelling with it.

This project is finally starting to wrap up, but first we have a flag report to write, and we are starting on a manual to help other ships to collect data for the ASSIST program. And then it's time to think about next summer!

October 21, 2015

Exciting news! We've just been accepted to speak at the Arctic Observing Open Science Meeting held in Seattle November 17-19, hosted by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States. This is an opportunity to share with the science community what we accomplished with our sea ice data collection program this summer, and open up the lines of communication between leading scientists and the tourism industry. 

We hope we may see some of you at our talk at The Explorers Club in NYC on Monday, November 23rd. Details here

October 8, 2015

Our presentation at the conference of Antarctic and Arctic tour operators in Toronto last week went extremely well. This project was very, very well-received, and we hope walking others through how it was set up and run on board served as an inspiration to the expedition companies, expedition leaders and field staff in attendance. The conversation is just starting. There is a momentum building around the idea of "tourism for science," and we are honored and excited to be a part of it. 

Also, we are thrilled to be speaking at The Explorers Club in NYC on Monday, November 23rd. If you find yourself in the area, we would love to see you there. More details here

September 20, 2015

We've just returned home from the end of our Arctic season, Lauren to New York and Alex to the UK. But not for long, as this coming weekend we are both flying to Toronto to speak on this sea ice project at a conference of Antarctic and Arctic tour operators. We are thrilled to be able to share our experience and the immediate results of this project so soon after completing the season. 

We hope that doing so will inspire decision-makers in the industry to more proactively pursue citizen science projects and that our project can act as a guide for how to incorporate data collection into tourism program. 

Looking forward to giving you an update upon our return next week. We're also busy processing large quantities of the data we collected, including the GoPro video taken from the helicopter and footage from our icebreaking days. 

Thank you again to all involved. While the field work of this project is complete, we're only just getting started with organizing and distributing the data, and our focuses now for the next few months will be on education and outreach. We'll be sure to keep you in the loop!

August 25, 2015

Our sea ice observations from our first 2 North Pole cruises have been included by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS)' Sea Ice Prediction Network in its August report, noting that this is the first time they have received sea ice data collected by tourists. 

To read the full report, go here

August 24, 2015

Greetings from Helsinki!

We have now completed our 4th and final voyage of our North Pole season, and finished with another great group of enthusiastic participants of our sea ice project. 

Thank you to Sushama Shashikumar, Alec Spiller, Alison Harris, Anke Wodang, Irena Paterova, Tomas Patera, Ulf Mauder, Ciprian Popasa, Elena Neacsu, Alexander Tynkovan, Dietmar Denger, Irina Gordeeva, Gavrill Gordeev, Frantisek Patera and Anne Zaglmann for joining us for observations on the bridge and in the melt ponds on your North Pole day. 

This 4th voyage brought significant visual changes in the sea ice. We began to see the stages of new ice forming and the end of melt as we neared the pole. In our final days, frost had begun forming on the frozen surfaces of the melt ponds. We saw notable changes in the ice in between our every-2-hour bridge observations, and wonder if we could have made just one more voyage to the North Pole, what more we would have seen. 

We’ll write more as we begin to package up and distribute the data we’ve collected to our advisors and other interested parties, and look forward to sharing our thoughts as we reflect on the project as a whole. 

Thank you again for your support. 

- Lauren & Alex

August 11, 2015

We are on a very rapid turnaround, but it was another successful trip. Thank you to citizen scientists Rhona Callander, Anna Verwillow, David Izosimov, Maxim Izosimov, Edward Callander, Elizabeth Callander, Peter Wright, Nicholas Izosimov and Uwe Rosenberger. There will be a more complete update when we are in Helsinki at the end of the season.

Sea Ice Research Team Cruise 3

Depth measurements

Salinity measurements

July 31, 2015

We’ve just returned to Murmansk from our 2nd voyage to the North Pole and we’re pleased to report great progress was made with our sea ice project.

Alex and I are becoming more and more comfortable and confident with our equipment and in making visual observations, and over the course of our days breaking ice, were able to involve a core, interested group of guests. We consistently had 4-5 guests on the bridge with us every 2 hours making note of ice concentration, age and thickness, and a larger group taking salinity and depth measurements in a selection of melt ponds at the North Pole. 


Their enthusiasm and contributions were profound and it was a fantastic experience forming the first Sea Ice Research Team on board 50 let Pobedy. 

A huge thank you to our Sea Ice Research Team members Thais Miles, Barry Lloyd, Andrei Nemirschi, P. Venkatesan, Takao Nakagawa, Doug Maxwell, John Cise, Dan Bieri, Chris Shearer, Rob Arathoon and Jan Cleary, and to Jan Bryde and Poseidon Expeditions for continuing to support this project. 

We’ll leave port again tonight for our 3rd voyage, and look forward to what’s to come! 

July 20, 2015

We have just returned from our first trip to the North Pole. It has been a steep learning curve, but we've progressed a lot and feel more confident with our observation skills, thanks mainly to the ship's officers who have very kindly lent their advice. We spent a few days getting our equipment set up, from GPS and GoPro mounts on the ship and helicopter, to having big wooden rulers painted for us by the ship's carpenter.

Lauren and Alex at The Geographical North Pole with Explorer's Club Flag #69

Working in the Barents Sea, affixing a ruler to the ship's side to help accurately estimate ice thickness as it breaks and overturns next to the ship

 Working with helicopter pilot Mikael to attach a GoPro mount to the helicopter. We have used a quick-release mount that allows us to change out the camera without having to adjust its position in just a few seconds.

Working with helicopter pilot Mikael to attach a GoPro mount to the helicopter. We have used a quick-release mount that allows us to change out the camera without having to adjust its position in just a few seconds.

The whole crew, from Captain Dmitry Lobusov to the carpenter, interpreter, helicopter pilot and engineers have been warm and helpful and we are very grateful to all of them.

On one beautiful day we flew the helicopter for several hours as the ship sliced and smashed through ridges and pans of ice. We took full advantage, collecting overhead video footage of the melt pond coverage throughout. Melt ponds are crucial to understanding how the pack melts, as unlike the shiny white ice which reflects the sun's heat back into space, they absorb it and help to warm the region and accelerate the melt.

Collecting melt pond data at the North Pole. Here we are measuring the first pond's length and depth profile, as well as its salinity.

On North Pole day we found ourselves pressed for time, but collected salinity profiles for several melt ponds as well as measurements of their dimensions and ice characteristics. An interesting find was that a 1.5m thick layer of fresh, warm water sits below the ice, separating it from the subzero waters of the Arctic Ocean.

The day was also used for planning in detail how we will bring guests into the program on the next trip, which starts...today!

We are looking forward to heading back out into the ice again, and we will have another progress update in a week and a half. Wish us luck!

July 9, 2015

We've boarded 50 let Pobedy, the most powerful ship in the world, and tonight at 22:00 we'll depart Murmansk through the Kola Fjord on our way to Franz Josef Land. We're working out the logistics of our sea ice monitoring equipment and will be ready to begin taking observations when we reach the polar pack north of Franz Josef Land. Then we're bound for the North Pole! Look forward to sharing with you our progress when we're back in Murmansk in a week and a half. 

 Alex enjoying a midnight golden hour on Russian icebreaker 50 let Pobedy. 

Alex enjoying a midnight golden hour on Russian icebreaker 50 let Pobedy. 

July 5, 2015

We've joined our expedition team in Oslo! 


We have a few days to get to know each other as we head North towards Murmansk.

This morning we took the ferry to visit the Fram Museum. What a thrill to walk through the famed polar exploration vessel, known for being locked in the ice on Nansen's expedition to attempt to claim the North Pole, just days from us heading there ourselves. 

Followed by a visit to Roald Amundsen's house 30km out of town. Exactly what you would imagine of a polar explorer's home! Alex and I took the opportunity to take a photo with our Explorers Club flag on his front steps. 


- Lauren

July 2, 2015

Meet Thyra Heder, the brilliant designer of our expedition logo. Thyra is an illustrator and her gorgeous children's book, The Bear Report, will be available in October. 


June 30, 2015

We are so honored to be carrying The Explorers Club Flag #69 during our sea ice data collection program this summer. To be awarded a flag for your expedition means your efforts have been recognized by The Explorers Club as furthering the cause of exploration and field science.

Flag #69 took its first expedition during the total solar eclipse of 1937 in the Andes. Since then, it has been to the Himalayas to explore the Raikot Glacier, to Antarctica for a whale song study, to South Georgia and even to the shipwreck of the Titanic. And now, Alex and I will take it to the Geographic North Pole. 


- Lauren