Ice, ocean, atmosphere. These three components constitute the health of the Arctic climate. At the heart of this system is one of the least studied bodies of water on the planet: the Beaufort Gyre, a slowly swirling bowl of icy water north of Alaska ten times the size of Lake Michigan. Recent observations suggest that because of global warming, the natural rhythms of the Beaufort Gyre have been tipped out of balance. To find out what this means for the future of the Arctic climate, scientists from the United States, Canada, and Japan have set out every summer since 2003 for month-long expeditions aboard the Canadian icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent. They are using an array of newly-developed instruments to measure the environment above, below, and within the floating icepack.
I was the field photographer and dispatch writer for the August 2005 expedition aboard the Canadian icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent. I documented the scientific activities and maintained a daily dispatch journal from the icebreaker in real time.