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Climate Change in the Arctic & around the globe

All systems go for the world’s biggest ocean acidification test

Today was a big day all round, and it started grey and snowy, with feelings of tense anticipation. For the scientists, it’s the next step towards the work they’ve put so much effort into over the last up to four years. If the mesocosms can be put in place successfully, they can lower the sacks and close them up to start the world’s biggest experiment on ocean acidification. If not, they’re in a bad way.
For the Greenpeace team, it’s time to put the giant testtubes they’ve carefully brought up to the Arctic from Kiel in Germany into the water, the fruition of their work with the scientist team. It’s a premiere all round. Not only is it a new and large-scale experiment, it’s a premiere in terms of Greenpeace and an official science body working together. As Martin Kaiser, Greenpeace climate campaigner from Germany and Professor Ulf Riebesell explained to me, the memorandum of understanding stipulates clearly who does what. The scientists are independent, doing their own work, grateful to Greenpeace for providing the boat without which none of this could have happened. Greenpeace is responsible for the logistics and helping because they want the data on the effects of ocean acidification on Arctic ocean ecosystems and organisms to be collected. Everybody stresses there are no foregone conclusions. Lab tests have indicated calcifying organisms are likely to suffer badly, but only this bigger experiment will give an indication of how whole systems react.
Let me give you the rest of the day in pictures.

The crew on the Esperanza were up bright and breezy and ready to start loading the mesocosms from the quay onto the boat at 8. Well you can’t say crack of dawn, since it’s light all night.
The scientists were down to keep an eye on operations

and IFM Geomar engineer Detlef Hoffmann, who seems to me to have been spending his life going up and down in the lift fixing up the mesocosms was back in place.

One by one, the first 3 mesocosms were lifted onto the Esperanza.

Professor Ulf, who’s coordinated the experiment, and Klaus, who designed the mesocosms, watch anxiously from the deck of the Esperanza.

At the deployment site, number one goes over, steady as she goes…

In the scientists\’s boat, Prof. Jean Pierre, the EPOCA coordinator,keeps an anxious eye.

The IFM technical experts in the dinghy do the necessary to affix the equipment.

Having “suited up” and gone into one of the Greenpeace dinghy, I’m able to follow the next “mesocosm overboard” operation from the water, looking up to the Esperanza.

The Greenpeace communications team are busy documenting this slightly different “campaign”.

Down she goes…

Well met, IFM Geomar.

Ulf has got on his survival gear and come down to check it out for himself.

And Greenpeace climate campaigner Martin Kaiser, on board the Esperanza, can be happy with the results so far.


June 1, 2010 | 7:52 pm