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Research trip in the Arctic was followed by polar bears

A polar bear standing on ice
Polar bears followed the expedition in the Arctic. Photo: Julia Asplund

Ice sheets, snow and the ocean as far as the eye can see. No shipping vessels or people in sight, and only polar bears for company. The icebreaker Oden sails between Svalbard and Greenland, and this spring, doctoral student Lovisa Nilsson, and a member of MERGE, joined the ship to study the transition from winter to summer in the Arctic, and how soot affects the melting of sea ice.

For six weeks, the spaces onboard Oden were Lovisa Nilsson’s whole world. A micro-society with the same functions and infrastructure as at home – just on a ship.

The crew numbered around 70, 40 of whom were doctoral students and researchers involved in projects concerning climate change in the Arctic.

Collected data on soot

Lovisa Nilsson, doctoral student in combustion physics at the Faculty of Engineering (LTH), gathered data about soot particles in the arctic climate. The Arctic has few sources of pollution, but polluted air that moves to the Arctic from other parts of the world increases the amount of soot particles that affect the melting process.

“Soot has a warming effect on the climate, both in the atmosphere and through the particles that fall to the ground. Soot on snow and ice in the Arctic makes the ground blacker and more likely to absorb sunshine, which means that the ice melts more quickly.”

Polar bears followed the expedition in the Arctic. Photo: Julia Asplund
The polar bears were curious about the expedition.


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