Antarctic Quest 21 Started!

Marine traffic between Terra del Fuego and the Antarctic Peninsula

If you have been travelling abroad at all in the past 12 months, you may be able to imagine the ‘fun’ of getting 8 people from UK, Sweden and the USA to Buenos Aires and from there to Ushuaia – especially in the early weeks of rapidly changing rules in the wake of the emerging Omicron variant of Covid-19.

But, the team made it and we can expect that the trials and tribulation of the ‘civilised’ world of international travel are minor in comparison to what lies ahead for them.

Ten minutes ago, SeaVenture was south of the South Shetland Islands, on their way to Portal Point, where the team and equipment will be dropped off.

The scientific mission has started already: polysulphone ultraviolet dosimetry badges have been deployed on the upper deck of SeaVenture, just as they had been in 2012 during the Spirit of Scott expedition, to determine the exposure of the region’s inhabitants and the sea surface to potentially harmful doses of ultraviolet light (UVB).

Martin Densham deploying UV dosimetry badge on SeaVenture
Martin Densham deploying UV dosimetry badge on SeaVenture – spot the barrels in the background: many of these were used to transport equipment and food for the expedition on SeaVenture from the UK. Photo: (c) Antartic Quest 21.

The 2012 study highlighted that datasets from UV badges obtained at different locations and altitude, effectively deployed as a ‘transect’ study at ground level, add value to those deployed by stationary ground-based instruments and satellites. Not surprisingly, the highest exposure to UV radiation was experienced by the team at high altitude and relatively low total ozone column concentrations measured by satellites. The results of this research were published in Antarctic Science.

The Spirit of Scott expedition team’s science lead Martin Densham co-authored this scientific paper and is leading this scientific project during Antarctic Quest 21 for Andrew Smedley at Manchester University.

The image shows that SeaVenture is not alone: many cruise ships are ‘commuting’ between the Terra del Fuego and the Antarctic Peninsula. This is one important reason for the UV radiation research – a lot of seafarers, scientists in research stations, tourists, the fishing industry and Navy operate this far south.

Marine traffic between Terra del Fuego and the Antarctic Peninsula
Marine traffic between Terra del Fuego and the Antarctic Peninsula. Screenshot from the Maritime Optima App.

Featured Image: Screenshot from the Maritime Optima App, which allows live position data from ship’s AIS to be followed.

Many thanks to all of our friends, sponsors and supporters who are backing the Antarctic Quest 21 expedition NAAFI Team Army/Team Ethos Costain Group PLC BetterYou LtdApplied Satellite Technology LtdGreencastle Consulting Klättermusen AB Fjellpulken AS Polar Latitudes Clean Planet Energy PlanetLabs.Earth Emily Whitehead Charlotte Braungardt LGfL Devon and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce Prof Dr Ger Graus OBE Phil Carrotte Tim Ellis Twin Science & Robotics Verofax Limited Paul Read Martin Holland, FRGS Anjuli Selvakumaran Elliot Brown Watches Challenging Habitat

#wornbyadventurers #NAAFI1920 #TeamArmyUK #CostainGroup #betteryou_ltd #klattermusen #TheASTGroup #greencastleconsulting #Fjellpulken #expeditionfoods #polarlatitudes #theshackletonwhisky #rgs_ibg #ewhiteheaduk #unavco #oinkandsqueal #ragingbullbiltong #thegiftofoil #theludlownutcompany #ohso_goodforyou #nudiesnacks #pearlscakes #britanniaassociation #ceraphienergy #AndrewSmedley PippaWhitehouse #AngelaMilne Simon Ussher #Nigel Marley #MichielvanDenBroeke #ImogenNapper

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