SOS Arctic 2024: 1500 kilometers of crossing Greenland to study the eternal ice


© Windsled2024
© Windsled2024

Greenland's thick ice sheet - the second largest in the World - has lost more mass than we thought, a recent study published on the “Nature” journal reveals. Greenland's glaciers are retreating faster than expected, showing sensitivity to the climate crisis that will have irreversible impacts on a global scale. Studying the Greenland ice sheet is  fundamental to better understand climate processes, predicting their consequences and developing mitigation and resilience strategies.

But to do this, we can't simply leave everything to technology. Ramón Larramendi, one of the World's best-known polar explorers who has been committed to developing sustainable methodologies for monitoring the polar regions for over 20 years, is the expedition leader of SOS ARCTIC - WINDSLED 2024, a 30-day 1500 kilometer ice crossing interior of Greenland, using exclusively wind and solar energy. A complex and long mission during which data and samples will be collected in order to analyze the condition of the polar ice cap in places never before reached by land and explored before. Everything thanks to the use of an innovative tool created by Larramendi himself.

Supporting this 2024 expedition, for the first time, several international entities such as Gruppo Sella, Sella SGR, Banca Patrimoni Sella & C., Italian National Council of Researches - thanks to the Programma di Ricerca Artico (Arctic Research Program) and the commitment of the Istituto di Scienze Polari (Institute of Polar Sciences) - Terre Polari, together with LCE - Life Cycle Engineering and MAS - Management Around Sports, with the official Media Partnership of Osservatorio Artico. The “Inuit Windsled” is the result of the encounter between traditional Inuit knowledge and Western technological innovation. Through his now forty years of experience, Larramendi has realized that the fundamental element for Arctic exploration is simplicity. As an Inuit hunter was aware of the need to use simple and easily repaired tools, so too must he be the researcher. Thus was born the project of a wind-powered sled designed in such a way as to combine scientific research with environmental protection.

The expedition will start on May 2nd from Qaleraliq, in the southern part of Greenland, going over 1500km northwards, towards Upernavik, thanks to the most advanced Windsled ever built. The new sled will be 20 meters long and 3 meters wide, equipped with solar panels and a kite that can lead the expedition at up to a maximum of 50km/h. It will carry a team of eight people with a load of 3,000 kilos. This test will serve to determine its maximum carrying capacity for future scientific campaigns, to be carried out regularly in Greenland and, hopefully, also in Antarctica. 

The collection of data and samples will be carried out in collaboration with international research bodies such as the Climate Change Institute of Maine (USA) and the Autonomous University of Madrid. And precisely the Institute of Polar Sciences of the National Research Council of ITaly CNR. The general objective of the campaign is to carry out the last test before making the Windsled, starting from 2025, a permanent and international research platform.

Ramón Hernando de Larramendi, born in Madrid in 1965, is an experienced polar explorer. He traveled more than 40,000km in the polar territories, and was the protagonist of an unparalleled adventure such as the Circumpolar Expedition of 1990: for three years, from 12 February 1990 to 25 March 1993, Larramendi traveled 14,000 km, from Greenland to Alaska, through the Northwest Passage thanks to dog sleds and kayaks. In this circumpolar expedition he reached the Geomagnetic North Pole at the age of 25, thus becoming the youngest explorer to do so. A starting point for dozens of other missions, in the Arctic and Antarctica, of which SOS Arctic 2024 aims to be the next big stage.For further informations and contacts:

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