The BAAE 07-08 aims to increase knowledge of the Danco Coast region of the Antarctic Peninsula, both by physical exploration and by a programme of scientific endeavours. With support from bodies including the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, the University of Brighton and the Swiss Paul Scherrer Institute and in conjunction with the International Polar Year 07-08, the expedition intends to conduct studies relating to climate change and to facilitate geological fieldwork.
Previous BAAE’s in 2001-02 and in 2004-05 have conducted geological sampling surveys in conjunction with Professor Rory Mortimer at the University of Brighton. Dr. C. Ryan has illustrated that the studies have had a considerable impact on knowledge of the area in particular and his dating of samples has altered the conventional thinking about the regions geological history. This expedition intends to take more samples at carefully selected sites in the region in order that even more accurate theories may be developed.
Concurrently with this a series of ice cores will be drilled as the expedition ascends to the Forbidden Plateau from sea level to over 2000m. Using a portable ice coring drill, supplied by a Swiss Institute, to extract snow down to a depth of 10m, the carefully collected samples will be returned for examination. These cores when analysed will provide data on snow accumulation rates, information crucial to an understanding of the effects of climate change in this remote area and enabling models of temperature variation to be tested. Temperature measurements taken at the 10m deep layer of snow will feed into existing models and provide more careful monitoring of changes to be made.
Polar regions are known to be particularly susceptible to temperature change and with this in mind the main effort of the International Polar Year 2007-08, a global concentration of scientific attention will attempt to enhance understanding of the delicate balances that exist between ancient polar regions and the effects of modern societies.