The platform (which is taller than the Statue of Liberty) will be towed horizontally to its first study area and tilted vertically by filling seawater ballast tanks – when most of the structure will be submerged. Built of special steel to handle violent storms, it will allow the acquisition of data and long-term observations that will be transmitted to researchers, oceanographers, climatologists and biologists at 43 scientific institutions in 12 countries.
Operating in an area that sailors refer to as the Furious Fifties (between 50° S and 55° S), studies will include: air/ocean exchange measurements, in particular related to CO2; wave dynamics; plankton collection and evaluation of the impact of acidification; acoustic inventory of marine fauna; validation at sea of satellite measurements and aerial observation of marine life.
“As an industry leader in sustainability and a global market leader in marine and yacht coatings, lowering our environmental impact on the planet and contributing towards ocean preservation are key aspects of our strategy,” adds Jean Michel Gauthier, Director of the company’s Marine and Protective Coatings business.
“Sponsoring the Polar Pod expedition is a great way for us to help advance scientific knowledge of the pivotal role the Southern Ocean plays on the Earth’s climate and marine biodiversity. We’re looking forward to supporting the team and raising awareness of the program as the mission begins to gather momentum.”
The collaboration has a strong link to AkzoNobel’s 2030 “Planet” ambitions, which include reducing carbon emissions by 50% and moving towards zero waste as a company. The research findings and knowledge gained during the expedition – including the impact of the harsh marine environment on the company’s products – could therefore prove invaluable.
AkzoNobel already has a presence in and around Antarctica, having supplied products for the British Antarctic Survey’s Halley VI research base, Sir Edmund Hillary's historic hut and explorer Robert Swan’s e-Base at Bellingshausen.
For more information about the Polar Pod, visit: www.oceanpolaire.org/en/polar-pod/
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