Le Commandant Charcot Hosts AWI Scientists on Research Mission

Le Commandant Charcot

In summer 2023, scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) sailed onboard Ponant’s Le Commandant Charcot to the geographic North Pole to conduct research.

According to a press release, the main objective was to obtain scientific data about the ice thickness. Additionally, throughout the Arctic season, Ponant supports AWI with a continuous stream of ice thickness data.

Professor of Sea Ice Geophysics and Remote Sensing Christian Haas from the University of Bremen is heading the sea ice research group at AWI.

Haas said: “For us the value is in the repeat cruises of Le Commandant Charcot to the Pole along very similar cruise tracks. Besides our own research vessel Polarstern, Le Commandant Charcot is an alternative vessel in the Arctic.

“Ice thickness is a crucial indicator of sea ice conditions in the Arctic, reflecting both climate change impacts and the processes behind ice thickness variations, such as melting due to rising temperatures or shifting winds. By measuring ice thickness changes over summer cruises, we can track the monthly ice melt, aiding our understanding of minimum thickness by the end of the melting season in September. This data is essential for improving Arctic Sea ice modeling, prediction, and satellite data validation.”

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