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Aurora Borealis ‘Europe’s Arctic Flagship’: A Long Term Science Perspective For Deep Arctic Ocean Research


The proposed construction of a European Arctic Flagship ‘AURORA BOREALIS’, the 250 Million Euro joint European Research Icebreaker with a deep drilling capability would result in a considerable commitment of the participating nations to coordinate and expand their Polar Research Programmes. Recent results from drilling of the Deep Arctic Ocean within the Arctic Coring Expedition (Acex) have revealed dramatic changes of climate in the Arctic region during the last 55 million years. European science would substantially benefit from a dedicated jointly owned research Icebreaker to investigate the deep Arctic Ocean. European Nations have a particular interest in understanding the Arctic environment with its potential for change because highly industrialized countries extend into high northern latitudes, and Europe is under the steady influence of and in exchange with the Arctic environment.

The AURORA BOREALIS will be globally the most advanced research platform with state-of-the-art technology for polar research. With its all-season capability it will provide a platform for tackling major scientific challenges, which hitherto has not been possible. It would be a floating European university in Polar Sciences. It would promote the idea of the European Research Area and it would result in substantial competitive advantages. In addition, it would help in the collection of data to advance the definition of the continental margins and increase safety in Arctic operations. The forthcoming international Polar Year in 2007-2008 provides an opportunity to launch such a groundbreaking European research facility.

A long-term science perspective document recommending the construction of such as infrastructure has been developed by The European Polar Board (European Science Foundation) written by scientists and from 10 nations throughout Europe. It highlights the major scientific challenges in the Arctic Ocean over the next 10 years. The AURORA BOREALIS project is an element of the European Polar Board’s Strategic Framework EUROPOLAR a concept which enables strengthening, expansion and commitment to the organization and implementation of European Polar Research. The Commitment of a group of European nations to this project will result in the enhancement of Political cooperation in the Arctic Region as a Whole.

Dr. Paul Egerton | alfa
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