NPEO 2002 Deployment Complete

Despite some complex logistical problems and conditions unusually difficult even by high Arctic standards, most of the scientific objectives for the North Pole Environmental Observatory's April 2002 deployment were attained. Fourteen NPEO researchers and engineers worked in the North Pole region for approximately the last two weeks of April. Progress reports via Iridium telephone provided frequent snapshots of the effort involved.

In a departure from the first two years when the deployment staged through the Canadian Forces base at Alert, the 2002 plan took advantage of the privately-operated Russian ice station established each spring since 1994 in the North Pole region to support a variety of tourist and commercial enterprises. This camp, dubbed "Borneo", maintains a 1200 meter runway for approximately the month of April near 89°N and 90°E. While tourists cross-country ski and ride hot-air balloons to the pole from Borneo, observatory researchers used the station as the starting point for their various projects.

Light aircraft support in the North Pole area was provided by a Great Slave Helicopters AStar 350 and a ski-equipped DeHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otter of First Air, Ltd.. The helicopter was staged to the Pole from Eureka with an escort from the Twin Otter. Most of the NPEO 2002 team and cargo flew from Resolute via CFS Alert to Borneo aboard a First Air Hawker Siddley 748 twin turboprop. Other support, such as landing privileges, aviation fuel, food service, and accommodations were contracted through Polarcircle Expeditions , the French company that is the primary service provider at Borneo. Contractual arrangements were made through the National Science Foundation's logistics coordinator Veco Polar Resources.

The NPEO 2002 operation included recovery and redeployment of the mooring anchored to the ocean floor. The helicopter was essential to reach the precise coordinates of the mooring, and divers were necessary to recover the instruments from beneath the ice.

Examples of nonscientific activities going o n at Borneo include the following links: