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Impact of the COVID19 outbreak on Italian Polar activities Featured

 5 Maggio 2020

Svalbard: Based on the national policy adopted in consequences of COVID19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed by Norwegian government and the Governor of Svalbard, CNR cancelled all the upcoming field activities at Dirigibile Italia Arctic station until the end of May. Assuming that these restrictions will continue, further cancellations are expected. At the moment, CNR has only one technician there managing the routine operations. Starting from June, some monitoring activities will be supported by the Norwegian Polar Institute staff. (read more)

Greenland: ENEA had plans to visit the Thule Research Station in March for instrument maintenance and specific measurements related to YOPP. This mission was cancelled but automatic measurements continue in Thule with the help of local technicians. Except for a couple of activities to be restarted after the polar night, and that were not possible to restart, and the radio soundings, all automatic measurements are operative.
Alaska: As a consequence of the cancellations of the activities in Svalbard, which also include those related to the CNR-ENI collaboration, the field campaign planned for spring 2021 in the frame of the same collaboration will be probably postponed to spring 2022.

The starting of the winter activities in Antarctica was not affected at Italian-French Concordia Station over the Antarctic Plateau and they are currently running regularly thanks to the winter team.
Even if with a big delay, the personnel returning from the Austral 2019-2020 summer campaign at the Mario Zucchelli Station was able to return at home around Easter.
An impact on the logistic organization of the next summer and winter campaign is expected. Several scenarios are at the moment considered, for both Mario Zucchelli and Concordia stations. For the Plateau station a continue discussion is ongoing with French colleagues at IPEV. PNRA logistic operator is also strictly in contact with COMNAP and operators of countries managing activity in the Ross Sea region. Definitive decisions are expected during July, after an in-depth analysis involving also the scientific community. This will include also the activity of the new Italian ice-breaker Laura Bassi.

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