TOPtoTOP Global Climate Expedition

7-summits non-stop around the world by human power and nature's force.
A unique challenge from TOP to TOP and SCHOOL to SCHOOL: A Swiss family of 8 together with volunteers share the joy of sport and environmental action to protect the climate since the year 2000.

See how they managed to do the first circumnavigation of whole Svalbard under sail and climbing from to the sea to the very TOP of Perriertoppen.

On the way, they sampled for microplastics and e-DNA.
They came as close as 3 days sailing to the North Pole till they got stopped by the pack ice. The youngest crew of our 6 children on board was Vital. He is two years old, followed by Mia 4, Alegra 9, Noé 10, Andri 13, and Salina 15.
Together, they cleaned the most northerly islands on the planed from plastics.

Please consider a donation on our website to support our work: toptotop.org

In detail:

This year we used a manta net for the microplastic samples and took samples for e-DNA at the same time. The goal is to locate the hotspots of microplastics and to get an idea about the living beings in the vicinity of these plastic concentrations. A future goal will also be to better understand ocean currents with the final goal of determining the sources of pollution.

We have found an enormous amount of macro plastic on exposed beaches on these northernmost islands between Spitsbergen and the North Pole. During clean-up operations, it was easy for one person to feel an 80-liter waste bag of plastic within less than 10 minutes. The largest amounts were fishing nets, plastic bottles, plastic bags, and plastic containers.

A further challenge besides the polar bears and pack ice is the "growlers". These are icebergs from glaciers on Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet. In contrast to icebergs, these "growlers" are hardly visible at the sea surface. When the sea is rough, it is, therefore, safer to hide in the pack ice. The pack-ice then acts as a breakwater. In an emergency, you can lash yourself between two large floes with ice screws and ice anchors. Like at a floating dock you are safer than as in the open sea, where you run the risk of being bombarded by breaking waves loaded with blocks of ice. However, this tactic only works well in areas where you have no drift; otherwise, you run the risk of the ship being crushed in the pack ice like in a mortar. Navigation was not easy in some remote areas, because the map material was very patchy or further east sometimes completely missing.

Conclusion: We suspect that the Gulf Stream transports the plastic parts up to the pack ice barrier and this "pack ice barrier" could lead to these high concentrations. The laboratory analyses will hopefully help to better understand the complex relationships in a few months. But one thing we all became aware of. The health of the far north is essential for our planet because of its large biomass. Climate change, which has more extreme effects in the far north, is already major stress for this ecosystem. Plastic pollution is an additional major stress factor that could lead to the collapse of the system.

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TOPtoTOP Global Climate Expedition

TLZ

TOPtoTOP

7-summits non-stop around the world by human power and nature's force.

A unique challenge from TOP to TOP and SCHOOL to SCHOOL: A Swiss family together with volunteers share the joy of sport and environmental action to protect the climate…


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TOPtoTOP

7-summits non-stop around the world by human power and nature's force.

A unique challenge from TOP to TOP and SCHOOL to SCHOOL: A Swiss family together with volunteers share the joy of sport and environmental action to protect the climate with young people all over the world.

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