PRESS RELEASE – PRESENTATION OF THE 1ST CIRCUMNAVIGATION IN HISTORY ON GREENLAND ICE: 5,000 KM (3,106 MI) ABOARD THE WINDSLED
– The polar explorer Ramón Larramendi will travel the perimeter of the world’s largest island aboard a sustainable vehicle, easy to use and considerably economical, intended for scientific research.
– The Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (IPE -CSIC) participates in the expedition with two scientific projects related to the analysis of climate change in the Arctic.
April 22nd, 2014
The Spanish polar explorer Ramón Larramendi presented “The First Circumnavigation of Greenland”, which will begin on May 5th in the vicinity of the town of Kangerlussuaq, south of the island, and which will take the expeditionary 5000 km (3106 mi) on the WindSled in a month and a half long crossing.
“The goal of the expedition, which is expected to last around forty five days, is to check the effectiveness of the WindSled as a sustainable vehicle, easy to use and affordable for research in polar territories, highly fragile ecosystems in which today thousands of scientists around the world, leave their ecological footprint”, remarked Larramendi.
The expedition will carry aboard different scientific instrumentation to collect data for two scientific projects from the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (CSIC), directed by geographer Mr. Juan Ignacio Lopez Moreno: snow characterization and validation of climate models in Greenland. They will also take radioactivity measurements when passing near the remains of former military bases abandoned at the end of the Cold War. If conditions permit, they have plans to visit some of the international scientific stations that are near their route, where changes occurring in Greenland are being studied.
The Arctic is the area on the planet that the Earth’s global warming impacts the most, as reflected in the latest report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC) : http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg3/ .
To this scientific and environmental challenge, the geographical one is added on. No expeditionary before this team, led by a Spaniard, has ever tried to circle Greenland’s inland ice, the largest island in the world with 2.5 million sq km (965255.39 sq mi). On this expedition, they could possibly surpass the world record of distance traveled in a single day.
The American Lonnie Dupre and the Australian John Hoelscher, who utilized clean means of transportation (dog sledding and kayak), took five years between 1997 and 2001 to circle the island, but not on the ice. The WindSled will invest around forty five days.
The expeditionary team will be composed by Ramón Larramendi, the Danish engineer Karin Moe Bojsen, the Greenlandic Hugo Svensson and the Spanish engineers Manuel Olivera and Eusebio Beamonte. The logistics involved will be coordinated by the geologist and explorer Juan Manuel Viu.
The crew expects to meet very different winds, not always favorable, which will improve the handling techniques of the WindSled already used in previous trips. On this occasion, the vehicle has undergone major technical improvements; both in the structure, as well as the kites, to also incorporate a new semitransparent tent that increases the pilots’ protection. Furthermore, controls have been enhanced and new materials will be tested.
The novel WindSled will progress when sunlight virtually lasts 24 hours a day, so that the intention of the expedition is to take turns piloting to be running as long as possible. The journey begins in the south west of Greenland, near Kangerlussuaq, where they will access the ice cap (Inlandsis glacier) in early May. It is from this location that they will head north to the Thule region, where they will commence their return through one of the most unexplored area, passing near Narsaq. They will end up in the same place they began from.
The expeditionary will be sending photos and videos and at certain times may be available for phone interviews or email during the course of the expedition and before their departure from Spain on May 1st.