A climate change study led by the University of Manitoba was canceled this week due to unexpected complications related to climate change. This would almost be funny if it wasn’t a huge alarm bell telling us how much we’ve messed up the planet so far.
The science team was onboard the Canadian Research Icebreaker CCGS Amundsen, when it experienced difficulties as it encountered hazardous and unexpected southward moving ice. The ice caused significant safety concerns and delayed the Hudson Bay System Study (BaySys) enough that research objectives would not be met.
“Considering the severe ice conditions and the increasing demand for Search And Rescue operations (SAR) and ice escort, we decided to cancel the BaySys mission,” Dr. David Barber, expedition chief scientist, and BaySys scientific lead said in a statement. “A second week of delay meant our research objectives just could not be safely achieved – the challenge for us all was that the marine ice hazards were exceedingly difficult for the maritime industry, the CCG, and science.”
Barber and his team of 40 scientists from five universities across Canada used their equipment to study the unexpected ice and found that it originated from the high Arctic. The researchers think that climate change has increased the mobility of the Arctic sea ice and that severe conditions like this will become a lot more common.
While the team was able to collect data from the event, it caused significant enough delays that continuing on would have affected research partners and the many graduate students working on the mission. The BaySys will have to be postponed to next year.
Luckily, this setback has not completely jeopardized the rest of the Amundsen scientific program, with future missions still going ahead.
“This extremely unfortunate event is not expected to affect the remainder of the 2017 Amundsen Expedition resuming on July 6," Dr Louis Fortier, scientific director of the Amundsen and ArcticNet Science programs, added. "We believe that the oceanographic studies will proceed as planned and do not anticipate an impact on the Nunavik Inuit Health Survey. The Amundsen Science Team is committed to working with Canadian Coast Guard and our industrial partners to plan a 2018 BaySys program.”
The university doesn’t mince words, stating that climate change is not something that will happen in the future but is happening now. Effects of climate change can be seen all around the world, and the sooner we take this challenge seriously, the better.