“Wasa is located close to the coast, very close to the Finnish base Aboa, and we collaborate with them in many ways. There is a flat area there, which makes is possible to land and to take off; here the Russians are in charge,” says Andrew Mercer.
The biggest danger is the cold
Now, it is summer in Antarctica. An Arctic summer is like a Swedish winter with temperatures between 10-20 degrees below zero, but a month ago there was a wind chill factor of 66 degrees below zero.
“I have no concerns regarding the expedition itself. We know that it is the cold that is dangerous, and we are not taking any risks. For this reason, we have rehearsed every step of the operation. My main worry is rather the quarantine and the risk of getting infected by COVID-19.”
The plan is that the expedition will leave Antarctica on 14 January, “unless the weather stirs up trouble,” as Andrew Mercer puts it.
Unique competence at the University of Gävle
Andrew Mercer is a glaciologist with a background as a survey engineer. His did his PhD at the Tarfala Research Station, focusing on glacier mass balance survey methods.
At the University, he teaches geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, and physical geography to students in land surveying, spatial planning, and in building and environmental engineering programmes.
“At University of Gävle, we have both a long experience of offering study programmes in land surveying as well as an ongoing collaboration with Lantmäteriet with a strong focus on GIS. This expertise makes us stand out,” says Andrew Mercer.
“Rapid developments in GIS mean that this is a skill in very high demand in the job market, which is a great advantage for our students.”