Introductory remarks from the Interparus editors We are united here by a common passion, a passion for sailing and learning about the world. The World Ocean is the second home of the yachtsman, and today this house is very strongly affected by the consequences of human activity. Along with global warming, ocean acidification is another result of human intervention in the planet's ecosystem. According to scientists, the current rate of acidity [...]
Introductory remarks from the Interparus editors
We are united here by a common passion, a passion for sailing and learning about the world. World Ocean - the second home of a yachtsman, and this house today very strongly feels the consequences of human activity. Along with global warming, ocean acidification is another result of human intervention in the planet's ecosystem. Scientists estimate that the current rate of ocean acidification is the fastest in the past several million years and is projected to only increase over the course of this century. The consequences of acidification primarily concern those marine organisms that form their shells from calcium carbonate. It is these species that often serve as the backbone of the food chain for other marine animals. But at the end of this chain there is a man - everything is connected with everything.
This article with stunningly beautiful photos is dedicated to exploring the glaciers of Greenland on a sailing superyacht - and those dramatic changes that occur as a result of human activity.
Sailing is one of the most sustainable types of travel. It is he who allows us not only to learn about the world, but also to do it with minimal interference with the environment.
These amazing photos show Greenland in all its beauty. They were made during Mark Rohr's unique journey on a 90-foot sloopwhich helped the owner to conduct research on climate change in the marine environment.
Our thirst for adventure is as unquenchable as ever. In the sea world, the desire to get off the beaten path seems to only grow stronger. More and more appearing research yachtswhose owners want to see incredible landmarks found in high latitudes.
When we first saw pictures of the yacht Acadia, traveling in Greenland, from the collection of the renowned marine photographer Onne van der Wal, they hooked us. And the more we learned about this cruise, the more we got interested.
To a sailboat owner in style "One hundred percent classic" you rarely get to know icebergs. But have Mark Rohr there was a serious task: to better understand the science of glaciers and icebergs, to communicate with local residents and scientists and see firsthand how global warming affects the ocean, its acidity and ecosystems.
So we met with Rohr, who, besides wanting to spread the word about ocean conservation, was happy to share with us the details of his mission in western Greenland.
Mark Rohr, CEO of a listed company Fortune 500working in technology and materials in Texas, explained that his a three-week trip to the Arctic Circle was planned to visit the most productive glaciers in Greenland (if not the world) and get to know the environment and people. And how, with the help of van der Wal, he wanted to capture the fjords, ice formation and melting of glaciers, while studying the life of animals and plants in this transition zone.
“I am a secret oceanographer,” Rohr admitted when I asked about his desire to take part in this mission, “and have always had an interest in oceanography and the sea. And he always swam. "
I had to ask about the choice of boat. 90ft aluminum yacht with classic lines from Hoek Design does not belong to the type of vessel usually associated with navigation in high latitudes. “It is very well built,” Rohr explains, “has sophisticated systems and a good level of security, capable of crossing the Arctic Circle. We will soon also travel to Panama, the Galapagos Islands and the South Pacific, and I hope that one day we will reach Antarctica itself".
After more than a year of planning Acadia, left Nuuk at the end of July and went to the bay Discolocated 400 miles north. Why special interest in Greenland? Rohr explained that this is all due to the increase in acidity in the oceans.
“Elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere contribute to the excess production of carbon dioxide in the ocean. It significantly lowers the pH level and blocks the formation of calcium carbonate, which is used by marine animals to make shells or form coral skeletons. The lower the pH, the more difficult it becomes for these animals and plankton to grow. Large seasonal fluctuations in ocean pH typically occur in the Arctic, where there are dramatic changes in temperature, salinity, ocean ice movement, and all the nutrients that come with it.
Therefore, scientists are studying algae to see how different species cope with different ocean acidification, and to understand what will happen in 20, 50 or hundreds of years ...
What interested me in Greenland and Disco Bay, so it is that they have been observing all this for a long time. There is a lot to learn here and it will help us when visiting places like Galapagos Islandswhere we hope to look at naturally high levels of acidification and how marine species interact with more acidic environments. So we spent some time on and around the glaciers to really get a feel for global warming, find out what changes people are seeing, and try to link it to ocean acidification. ”
Greenland, the largest island in the world, covers an area of about 2.2 million square kilometers. The ice cover in its center, second only to Antarctica, is more than 3.2 km thick in places and covers an area of 1.7 million km2 and is the only ice sheet in the Northern Hemisphere that has survived from the Ice Age.
Ice moves gradually from the center of the cap to the shore. Area around the bay Disco and fjords Uummannak is the main western route to the sea, and it is estimated that half of all ice loss in Greenland comes from this area.
The Sermek Kuyallek Glacier, which ends in the interior of the Ilulissat Ice Fjord, is one of the fastest ice streams in the world. It moves at an amazing speed - about 40 m per day.
Icebergs breaking away move down the fjord, eventually entering the bay Disco and its surroundings. The surface of the glacier and the ice fjord is a unique natural wonder and for this reason it has been named a site UNESCO world heritage in 2004.
Since then, the tongue of the glacier has retreated by more than 20 km, and the speed of movement has almost doubled.
Marine ecosystem strongly influenced by ice movement. Subglacial melting adds nutrients to the sea, supporting plankton blooms. Halibut, northern shrimp, bowhead shark, ringed seals, minke and humpback whale are common species found in the ice and at the mouth of the fjord.
When the ice penetrates the bay Disco, it is influenced by currents and winds that push the ice northward and eventually lead to Baffin Island, where the Labrador Current carries icebergs south along the Labrador coast to Newfoundland and eventually to the Atlantic. It is believed among scholars that "Titanic" was sunk by an iceberg from Kang glacierandafollowing this route.
Acadia commonly encountered three categories of ice or icebergs: snow-based, melt-water based, and basal. The term "iceberg"applied to ice of all shapes and sizes officially means chunks over 5 meters / 16 feet.
Most icebergs are white as a result of the reflection of light from the air contained in frozen and compacted snow. Snow icebergs sometimes contain so much ancient compressed air that the water around them sizzles as if it were carbonated.
In icebergs, you can also often see turquoise or blue stripes of ice. They are formed by melt water (without air), which flows over the glacier and freezes again. Ice from this water is very compact and hard, and can be razor sharp.
The sides and base of the glacier rubbing against the ground collect dirt and rocks, so icebergs can also contain these dark or dirty basal deposits.
Average about 17% iceberg seen above sea levelhence the infamous term "The tip of the iceberg"... Icebergs, consisting mainly of basal material or melt water, are denser and float lower in the water. Pure melting ice is almost transparent and appears to be sitting on the water with a small bump above the surface.
Ice from melt water poses the greatest danger to a vessel such as Acadia... During this expedition, the crew encountered thousands of icebergs, products of the vast Greenland ice sheet and millennia of accumulation of snow and ice. It is stunningly beautiful and at the same time disturbing, because the rate of melting seems to be accelerating.
Looking at the data collected over the past decade, it is easy to see evidence of dramatic changes taking place. Scientists at the Arctic Station and from research institutions around the world studying the Gulf Disco and the surrounding glaciers provide an impressive view of the climate's impact on this fragile ecosystem.
Rohr describes the journey Acadia to Greenland in detailed notes, excerpts from which we cite: “The ship stopped at the mouth of the Evigedi fjord and went 50 km inland through winding passages and ice-covered mountains to meet the breaking glacier for the first time.
The next stop was Sissimuth, the second largest city in Greenland, which has been inhabited for over 4000 years. It is a beautiful and successful fishing community of valley buildings and an impressive natural harbor. Our Inuit guide, Nivi, shared her stories of life in the community and how it has changed over the years. ”
Acadia moved north to its destination in the bay Disco and settlement / bay Ilulissat... “Entering and exiting Ilulissat is a daunting task for ships such as Acadia... Cover from Kangia glacier and the ice fjord is very dense and extends 10-15 km into the bay Disco... Our yacht, usually at home at sea, was not at ease. When we first entered the area, it took us six or seven hours to walk 10 km to the relative safety of Ilulissat harbor. ”
“As we crawled, pushing the ice, we were regularly passed by the Inuit fishermen in their small boats, greeting us with a friendly wave. Ilulissat, founded in 1741, today is mecca of eco-tourism in Greenlandand its heart is the fishing and hunting community. "
“We drank tea with a local Inuit woman who told us stories of her life and family. Then we visited a local hunter and fisherman - he fed his 18 dogs and shared exciting ideas. The area is dotted with ancient Inuit settlements, many dating back to 4000 BC, highlighting the impact of this incredible bay and the Arctic on human heritage. ”
“The main visiting card of Ilulissat is Kangia glacier, UNESCO world heritage site and one of the fastest cracking in the world, with about 40 m per day. Ice from this glacier fills the fjord and much of Disko Bay with huge icebergs, many of which are the size of a city block. It is almost impossible to understand the enormous scale of this glacier system and the colossal impact on the environment. "
"Disco Island across the bay is home to the Arctic Station and many beautiful fjords full of birds and animals. Research Center of the University of CopenhagenFounded in 1907, it sponsors and hosts researchers from around the world studying glaciers, animal and plant life - a fantastic group of people doing critical research to help build knowledge about climate change. "
"Claushavn Is a small community of 90 people located south of the ice fjord, which is Acadia began to call "Central whale"... Here, minke and humpback whales feed on capelin, northern krill and plankton from these rich waters. Daily feeding shows coordinated behavior that is a wonderful example of beauty and efficiency. "
“We worked with Danish guide Mia Olesen to get to know the people of Greenland and learn more about their Inuit life and culture. Life Science Guide Jepp Lang helped us better understand the dynamics of ice and animal development in the region. And Professor Per Hansen of the Arctic Station has expanded our knowledge of the interactions between plants and animals and the impacts of climate change. "
What surprised Rohr in this area of Greenland were the people: “Everyone we met, Inuit families, Copenhagen Maritime Institute men and women, scientists and fishermen. Everyone was amazing - very welcoming, attractive, willing to invite us and share their stories. "
Acadia was launched two years ago and is the first of an extensive cruise program dedicated to marine exploration. The crew includes an experienced skipper Heinrich Müller, assistant Brent Levenson and expedition coordinator Ali Hey.
“If you're interested in oceanography, you have to go to the transition zones to really understand what's going on,” Rohr explained when asked about the yacht's plans.
“You have to go to the Arctic and Antarctica, deep in the Pacific Ocean, in areas like Panama, where there is a combination of the Humboldt Current and deep ocean with mangrove swamps and strong rainwater - these are the transition regions where you really see the greatest diversity of species. These are the areas where I think we can better understand what's going on. "
During the preparation of this material Acadia was already on her way to Panama. “We will spend several weeks in Institute for Tropical Ecology at Bocas del Toroby studying corals and coral diseases to gain knowledge that we hope to use when we get to the South Pacific, ”explains Rohr.
"We will then travel through the canal to the Galapagos, where we will work with scientists studying the effects of ocean acidification due to natural carbon dioxide emissions that create increased acidity and can provide insight into our future and impact on flora and fauna."
After that Acadia plans to travel to Cuba, "where we support the Elkhorn coral scientist, coral ecology and the impact of pollution and ocean warming," says Rohr. And at the beginning of 2020 Acadia will pass through the Panama Canal back to the South Pacific. It's a busy but damn exciting schedule.
“We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to sail all over the world, interact with many interesting people and learn from their experiences,” concludes Rohr. “I hope that Acadia can play its part in raising awareness of the fragile nature of our marine environment and thereby engaging others to protect the oceans and life on Earth. We're just trying to raise awareness. And to be honest, we are only at the very beginning of the road. "
Author: Toby Hodges
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