Jean-Louis Etienne - Actualités
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Jean-Louis Etienne
Monday April 27 2009
A new Polar expedition planned for 2010

A human and technological adventure to enhance our knowledge of the Earth’s climate and help safeguard it.

A balloon crossing of the Polar ice has still never been achieved. This will be the last act in my trilogy of solo North Pole expeditions. After reaching the Pole by pulling a dog sled for 63 days in 1986, and then drifting for four months on the sea ice in the Polar Observer in 2002, I am now preparing to undertake a balloon crossing in April 2010.

The balloon will be a Rozière type, supported by a combination of helium and hot air, like the Breitling Orbiter balloon used on their round-the-world flight by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones. The nacelle will be specially designed for a Polar flight.

During the flight, I will be taking two types of continuous measurements: the level of CO2 in the atmosphere (for the CEA-CNRS Department of Climate & Environmental Sciences) and the Earth’s magnetic field (for the Institute of Globe Physics-LETI-CEA).

In embarking on this daring adventure, worthy of the novels of Jules Verne, I want to draw the world’s attention to: the shrinking of the Polar sea ice and its impact on the lifestyle of the native peoples of the North; the state of Arctic biodiversity; and the planet-wide climatic chaos that will ensue if the Polar ice disappears. The sea ice is the best indicator we have of the effectiveness of the measures that Man must take to curb global warming.

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