The Climate Impact Tour 2011 & 2012.


ScanLAB Projects joined expeditions to the Fram Strait, North West of Svalbard, Norway to capture in forensic detail the 3D form of Arctic Sea Ice. Accompanying sea ice scientists from The Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) at the University of Cambridge aboard the Greenpeace icebreaker ship the Arctic Sunrise, the team captured the detailed surface geometry of a total of 26 ice floes. Each was mapped using terrestrial LIDAR and the undersides captured using underwater sonar from below. Together this top and bottom surface information provide one of the most detailed snapshots of sea ice morphology to date.

These detailed samples of ice floe form feed into wider scale theoretical and mathematical modelling undertaken at Cambridge. This precise data allows validation and calibration of large scale data captured from aerial photography, satellite measurement, tracking of ice flow and Arctic ocean currents. Ultimately, the data feeds into models aiming to understand and predict the trends in global sea ice levels with respect to climate change and global warming.

The scan data collected not only feeds digital simulations and computational models of the arctic region; it has also given the scientists and campaigners compelling new tools for describing and visualising the work that they do in the arctic regions.

The Arctic Sunrise wedged between ice floes in the Fram Strait. © Nick Cobbing/Greenpeace
Diagram showing position of drill holes and scan locations
Drill holes measure the thickness of ice. © Nick Cobbing/Greenpeace
Out on the ice © Alex Yallop/Greenpeace