3rd National Arctic Scientific Research Expedition Completed with Many Firsts

The 11-person scientific delegation, which carried out the 3rd National Arctic Scientific Research Expedition under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Turkiye, with the support and financing of the Ministry of Industry and Technology and under the coordination of TÜBİTAK MAM Polar Research Institute, returned to Turkiye after completing its scientific activities after a month-long expedition that witnessed many firsts.

This year, Turkiye increased its presence in the Arctic region by inviting international researchers to Arctic expeditions for the first time.

The research team composed of people from TÜBİTAK, the Naval Forces Command, the General Directorate of Meteorology, Anadolu Agency, research institutes, universities, and foreign scientists participating in bilateral cooperation programs, reached the sea ice edge at 81 degrees north latitude with the 62-meter Norwegian-flagged research ship "PolarXplorer," which served as their living quarters for approximately one month.

The first collaboration within the scope of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation of Brazil and TÜBİTAK in 2022 was realized during this expedition.

Will Shed Light on Climate Change

In July 2023, the month with the highest average temperature since scientific records began, our expedition team conducted studies to better understand climate change in the Arctic.

The team completed all its scientific studies by taking samples and measurements at 28 points. Shedding light on the future of the world, the expedition team carried out scientific research for 14 different projects in the Barents Sea. The studies of the scientific team covered topics such as marine and life sciences, ecosystems adapted to the Arctic Ocean, including fish and sea creatures, phytoplanktons, determination of anthropogenic pollutants in the sea, monitoring of physical parameters of sea water and microplastics. The expedition also included atmospheric pollution observations in the marine area, meteorological observations, studies on the environmental effects and periodic examinations of new trade routes, observation of sea ice and tracking of marine mammals. The expedition team traveled approximately 5,500 kilometers. During the expedition, they observed the sea ice starting at 81 degrees northern latitude and the fragmented glaciers mixing into the sea due to climate change. They also observed humpback whales, Minke whales, dolphins, various seal species, walruses, polar bears, and dozens of bird species in the Svalbard archipelago and the Barents Sea.

For the first time with the 2204-D project, a student took part in the National Arctic Scientific Research Expedition.

The student who won the first prize in the TÜBİTAK BİDEB 2204-D High School Students Climate Change Research Projects competition, which was announced at TEKNOFEST, had the opportunity to test the project in the Arctic Ocean as part of the expedition. In the project that won first place in the "Water" category, a material that cleans oil in the marine environment was developed by placing the fibers obtained from the Platanus Orientalis fruit into pouches in order to find a solution to the oil pollution spreading on the ocean surface. Prof. Burcu Özsoy, Coordinator of the 3rd National Arctic Scientific Research Expedition, who led the test studies for the project, said: "One of the biggest risks in maritime is the oil pollution spreading on the sea surface. Although technologies related to oil pollution have been under development for a long time, to date, an efficient technology or method has not been achieved. In this regard, our student's study is also a project of significance for us." Özsoy stated that they conducted the project tests in the Arctic Ocean, saying, "Although we had no intention of further polluting the ocean, we together created an environment here where our student could conduct analyses, apply tests and test the equipment. We collectively tested how it cleans the oil in the seawater."

During the expedition, the 3rd National Arctic Scientific Research Expedition team visited the Polish Polar Research Station, Russia's research stations in Barentsburg, the old Russian mining town of Pyramiden and the Korean base in Ny Alesund.


The scientific team was briefed by the officials of the Barentsburg Scientific Research Center as part of the visit for closely examining the work of foreign scientists. The team also delivered the samples taken for the projects of Italian researchers within the scope of international cooperation during the expedition to the Italian research station. The scientific team also paid a short visit to Ny-Alesund, a town located at 79° northern latitude with 12 research stations from different countries, and took a group photo in front of the statue of Norwegian Explorer Roald Amundsen, who was the first to set foot on the north pole and the second to set foot on the south pole. There are 20 research facilities of 13 countries on Svalbard (Spitsbergen) Island to carry out scientific studies specifically in the North Pole and the Arctic Ocean.

The first findings about the work of researchers participating in the Arctic science expedition will be shared with other scientists at the 7th National Polar Sciences Symposium, which will be held between November 30 and December 1.

In the 8th National Antarctic Science Expedition, researchers will work in the other polar region of the planet between January and March 2024 to collect information about the world and global climate change.

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