CBS News
First Person: Ice Station SHEBA
On Assignment Inside The Arctic Circle:
A CBS Special Report
CBS
Canadian icebreaker Des Groseilliers stuck in an ice pack deep inside the Arctic Circle.

BARROW, Alaska
Thursday, May 28,1998 - 09:20 AM ET
(CBS) CBS News Correspondent Jerry Bowen, Producer Quent Neufeld, and a CBS News camera crew recently spent three days on an icebreaker frozen into the Arctic Ocean 300 miles north of Barrow, Alaska. They filed this report exclusively for CBS.com.

The Canadian icebreaker Des Groseilliers was deliberately stuck in the ice pack last fall for a $20 million, year-long study of the Arctic climate and its effect on the rest of the globe. It's the National Science Foundation's largest, most complex Arctic research project, called Project SHEBA [Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean]. The vessel, bristling with hi-tech equipment, is staffed at any time by 30 or more scientists from several nations.

The Arctic simply isn't as cold as it used to be. Researchers were immediately surprised to find the sea ice only about six feet thick a third less than expected. But is it due to global warming? Computer models conflict. One shows the Arctic ice pack the size of the United States melting. The other is far less severe. But scientists hope Project SHEBA will provide the answer and improve global climate forecasts.




This sign post in Barrow, Alaska, leaves little doubt that Bowen and crew are at the far reaches of civilization.
(All photos: CBS)

 

From Barrow, the crew would set out on a journey 300 miles to the north, deep in the Arctic Circle. Once on the floating ice station, they'd be just 900 miles from the North Pole.
The only way to reach the Project SHEBA stati

Scientists say temperatures in the Arctic were definitely warmer this past year, as this crack in the ice helps illustrate.
The floe that is home to ice station Sheba has drifted 800 miles since the station was established in October.

 

Everything from the ice to the water below it to the Arctic air is being probed by SHEBA scientists.
The CBS News camera crew found it difficult to work in the harsh Arctic conditions, where it felt like -41 degrees Celsius with the wind chill.

 

Correspondent Jerry Bowen and Cameraman Tom Rapier head back to Barrow aboard this propeller plane.


Reported by CBS News Correspondent Jerry Bowen
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