July 29, 2020 (Google Translation) – Yesterday, July 28, 2020, Alliance ship returned to the Norwegian port of Tromsø, thus closing the High North20, before three Arctic research campaigns of the three-year High North 2020-2022 program.
The research activities and scientific objectives of High North20 have been achieved, while respecting the stringent health protocols aimed at containing the emergency COVID 19, thanks to the great synergy between the Alliance ship crew, under the command of the frigate captain Andrea Crucitti, and the team of 13 experts from the Hydrographic Institute of the Navy, including 5 young officers of the Navy.
The Arctic expedition of the Navy, directed for the Hydrographic Institute by Professor Roberta Ivaldi and the frigate captain Maurizio Demarte, saw the scientific team of the Navy operate for twenty days in the Arctic Ocean, in the waters of the Strait of Fram and north of the islands Svalbard, until reaching the maximum limit of the edge of the Arctic ice at the latitude of 81 ° 16.093’N.
The exploration activities carried out, for a total of 3894 km 2 , led to the acquisition of new data for the mapping of the seabed useful for the knowledge of the oceans and the experimentation of new technologies and multi-platform systems on the edge of the ice.
Scientific investigations were conducted in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere, for a total of 100 stations, observations and vertical profiles; mapping and characterization of the seabed, data acquisition relating to the water column, collection of images for monitoring the ice limit and their identification and classification, sampling of surface waters and their biogeochemical content, of suspended particulates for the study of ‘environment. In addition, visual observations were conducted aimed at the discovery and detection of marine mammals, the marine litter and microplastics.
Scientific activity has allowed to acquire and elaborate the very high resolution morphological model of the Molloy Hole , the deepest point of the Arctic Ocean, inaccessible for most of the year, since it is covered by the ice of the Greenland ice floe. A challenge won for the Navy, for the Hydrographic Institute and a great professional experience for hydrographers who had the unique opportunity to confront themselves with depths over 5500 meters in an extremely complex and hostile environment. The data acquired in this activity, the first in the world to this resolution, will be made available to the international scientific community and will confirm the depth of the Molloy Hole, once validated by the Hydrographic Institute of the Navy.
As part of the United Nations Ocean Science Decade program, 5 young Navy officers were also present in the scientific team who are following the advanced training and study program, which will lead them to obtain their master’s degree in Hydrography and Oceanography University of Genoa and the Hydrographic Institute of the Navy in anticipation of their next use on board the hydrographic units of the Armed Force.
Thanks to the sharing of the acquired scientific data, the High North20 mission will benefit the main research bodies that deal with Arctic, such as the NATO STO-CMRE center, the JRC – European Union research center, the National Research Council ( CNR), the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Economic Development (ENEA), the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics (OGS), European Research Institute (ERI) and industry (e-GEOS).
Nave Alliance, a multipurpose hydro-oceanographic research unit belonging to the Command of the Mine Countermeasures Forces of the Navy and the Center of Maritime Research Exploration of NATO ( NATO STO-CMRE) , departed today 29 July from the port of Tromsø, for the return in Italy in the naval base of the Navy of La Spezia.
Italian Navy photo