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October 22, 2007
Volume 85, Number 43
p. 13

North Pole Expedition

Chemical firms sponsor airship to measure ice-cap thickness

Marc Reisch

© Stephane Compoint/7eme Continent

French explorer Jean-Louis Etienne has unveiled an airship at the Marseille Provence Airport in France that will fly over the North Pole to measure the thickness of the Arctic Sea ice cap. Between March and April 2008, Etienne and his team will work from the 177-foot-long dirigible filled with 5,500 m3 of helium supplied by Air Liquide, to establish baseline measurements that will help monitor the impact of global warming on the polar ice cap. They will collect data, using a laser altimeter and an electromagnetic probe suspended 50 feet above the ice developed by the Alfred Wegner Institute in Germany. French petrochemical and energy firm Total is a principal sponsor of the expedition. W. L. Gore & Associates, makers of fluorocarbon polymers and fabrics used in extreme-weather clothing, is also a sponsor. Scientific supporters include a number of French institutions, as well as the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization.

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Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2009 American Chemical Society

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