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Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition ACE


The Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition (ACE) is the first project of the Swiss Polar Institute, which was co-founded by the WSL. In December 2016, the Russian research ship Akademik Treshnikov will sail from Cape Town, embarking on the very first scientific expedition to undertake a complete circumnavigation of the continent of Antarctica. Around 55 researchers from all over the world will be on board, working on 22 distinct projects in many different domains, ranging from the composition of plankton to the lives of endangered animal species, the presence of microplastic and the impact of waves on coastlines.

One of these projects will be headed by Katherine C. Leonard, a researcher at both EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) and SLF. She and her team will investigate why the seas around the South Pole have become increasingly less salty in recent years. There is no shortage of hypotheses. Is more fresh water entering the sea from melting Antarctic snow masses? Are changing sea ice dynamics to blame, since sea ice contains less salt than seawater? Or has the quantity and composition of precipitation changed? It is hoped that measuring and analysing precipitation and conducting seawater analyses and studies of sea-ice patterns will help to answer these questions.

    Project details

    Project duration

    2016 - 2017