The Incredible Journey: Canadian scientific instruments return home after drifting 8000 km through the Arctic Ocean

Arctic science just received a huge boost! After nine months drifting on ice floes through the Arctic Ocean and North Atlantic Ocean, two Canadian science stations have been successfully recovered off the East coast of Greenland by the Royal Danish Navy.

As part of the 2016 Canada-Sweden Polar Expedition, nine science stations were deployed on various ice floes by scientists with the Geological Survey of Canada. The science stations were part of innovative experiments undertaken to collect data on the geology of the Arctic Ocean.  Due to poor weather conditions which prevented their recovery, two of the stations had to be left on the ice.  Over nine months, they drifted over 8,000 km to an area off the coast of Eastern Greenland. 

Scientists at the Geological Survey of Canada never lost hope that the instruments would be recovered and returned home to the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. They continuously tracked the instruments for nine months, receiving GPS data every three hours. 

On May 24 and 25, the Royal Danish Navy Ship KDM TRITON, receiving location information from the Geological Survey, recovered the science stations after a remarkable search effort amongst hundreds of ice floes

The recovered science stations will provide new data on the geology of the seafloor, which will be of critical interest to scientists trying to understand how the Arctic Ocean formed.  The recovery efforts are another clear example of the strong cooperation and collaboration between Canada and Denmark in the Arctic.

Canada’s Extended Continental Shelf Program wishes to thank the many contributors without whom this outstanding endeavour would not have been possible: The Royal Danish Navy and Joint Arctic Command; the Icelandic Coast Guard; the US Office of Naval Research-Global; the Canadian Embassy in Reykjavik; the Air Defence Advisers Office at the Canadian High Commission, London; and the Geological Survey of Canada.