A floating Russian research station on an ice floe in the Arctic is being evacuated far earlier than planned due to the breakup of the floe it is sitting on. A Russian icebreaker has been dispatched to pick up the scientists and their equipment from the ice floe that has housed the North Pole-40 research base since last October.
The station is the latest in a series of floating research stations that the Russians have operated dating back to the late 1930s. It was intended to remain occupied and in operation until September of this year, but the ice floe it is situated on has begun to break up. The floating research station is out of helicopter range, and the floe is too unstable to enable an airstrip to be created.
Finding a suitable ice floe for these research stations is becoming increasingly difficult. The team for this mission spent considerable time trying to locate a suitable floe to set up on last autumn. The Russian government has budgeted 1.7 billion rubles (about US$ 54 million ) to create a "self-propelled, ice- strengthened floating platform to replace the natural ice floes for future research stations."
Hat tip: @HotTopicNZ
written by Kelly Garriott Waite, May 28, 2013
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