Krutaya Drisva: 69.3479°N, 161.4630°E

Last night I got a message from Sue Natali (Polaris Project Research Coordinator and 2014 Expedition Leader) reporting that the group had arrived safely at the remote tundra research site and that they were already charging ahead at full steam on their research projects.  Their location is known as Krutaya Drisva (translated as “Cape with Sharp Slope and Gravel”), and the Polaris Project expedition will remain there for the next 10 days or so.  At 69.3479°N and 161.4630°E, this truly has to be one of the most remarkable places on earth for anyone to be, without even considering that the Polaris Project expedition includes a bunch of American undergraduate students!

Sue reports that there is still a lot of snow present and that the landscape is a playground for global change scientists – polygonal tundra (Google that term to see what it means), lakes, streams, frost boils, and vast quantities of ancient Pleistocene carbon poised to be released to the atmosphere!  Science marches onward, in spite of the geopolitics of the day…

Even though I’m currently in Washington DC, many thousands of miles from Krutya Drisva, I’m incredibly proud to be associated with this remarkable group of people.

Max Holmes

PS:  Enter “69.3479°N 161.4630°E” into Google Earth or Google Maps to see where they are.

3 Responses to “Krutaya Drisva: 69.3479°N, 161.4630°E”

  1. July 09, 2014 at 6:55 pm, David Butman said:

    Great post Max, what an experience for those students! for anyone!

  2. July 12, 2014 at 8:19 pm, Ronnie said:

    With good fortune and innovative thinking these brilliant minds may be the first to establish the true benevolence of the unjustifiably maligned CO2.

  3. July 13, 2014 at 9:54 am, Max Holmes said:

    As alluded to in Comment #2, carbon dioxide (CO2) plays an extremely important role in the biosphere. After all, photosynthesis – the process responsible for plant growth, including growth of the crops we eat – requires CO2. Carbon dioxide is also, undeniably, a heat trapping gas, so as its concentration increases in the atmosphere, so to does global temperature.

    As scientists, we in the Polaris Project approach our research with open minds, seeking the truth and doing our best not to let our personal biases influence our research findings. I could think of no better outcome than to (as Ronnie wrote above) “to establish the true benevolence of the unjustifiably maligned CO2”. In fact any scientist who could accomplish this feat would likely achieve instant fame and would end up in the history books alongside Newton, Darwin, and Einstein.

    So maybe the “brilliant minds” of the Polaris Project will find that 97% of the scientific community is wrong with respect to global warming, but so far that hasn’t been the case. Instead, our findings have tended to confirm that the Arctic and its permafrost is warming, and that the vast stores of ancient carbon contained in the permafrost is poised to be released to the atmosphere as the permafrost thaws.

    So it may be up to people like Ronnie to demonstrate “the true benevolence of the unjustifiably maligned CO2” – at least the Polaris Project has not uncovered evidence that on balance would support that notion!