Each summer, the CCGS Amundsen, a research vessel, navigates the Canadian Arctic doing dedicated arctic research on behalf of a group of universities. The funding is paid for in part by the Canadian government.
The plan this year called for a 115 day journey to the North Baffin Island. Researchers on board typically run experiments 24 hours a day.
However, prior to becoming CCGS Amundsen, it was an icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard and ran under the name of Sir John Franklin. It was converted into a research vessel in 2003 and renamed.
This year because of the growing ice bed in the Canadian Arctic, the CCGS Amundsen was forced to stop its research and help rescue a number of commercial vessels hindered by the ice on Hudson Bay. They were resupplying a number of coastal villages in the area.
The Coast Guard has two ice breakers in the area but when they became overwhelmed with the growing ice bed, the Coast Guard was forced to redeploy the CCGS Amundsen as an ice breaker.
With two additional ice breakers on their way, it is expected CCGS Amundsen could resume it research duties as early as next week.
In an interview with CBC, Canadian Coast guard spokesman Johnny Leclair said the summer ice conditions were the worst he has seen in 20 years.
This confirms what has been reported by others — the Arctic is refreezing. Satellite images show after years of melting, the size of the Arctic ice bed has rapidly returned to 1995 levels over the past three years despite record amounts of C02 still being poured into the earth’s atmosphere. The ice is also returning in the Antarctic.
But I left the best for last. Ironically some of CCSG Amundsen’s research included a study of the affects of man-made Global Warming on the Canadian Arctic.