An Arctic expedition: a supposedly useful thing I’ll never do again

Keywords: Climate change awareness, fieldwork, tourism, geopolitics, research funding


The aim of the second Scientific Expedition Edgeøya Spitsbergen (SEES), which took place from 13 to 22 July 2022, was to study the consequences of climate warming in the High Arctic, building on ecological data gathered by the Dutch Arctic Station on Edgeøya between 1968 and 1987 and the first SEES expedition in 2015. In this Perspective essay, I ponder the actual purpose of SEES 2022, in which I participated as an early-career research scientist. The research activities were very limited and climate change was named as the restricting factor. Fifty researchers were accompanied by 50 tourists, journalists and policymakers. The choice made by the expedition leaders and funders to go for a tourist vessel was mostly financial, and the difference in media output versus expected research output substantial, which points to paradoxes related to research, publicity, politics and tourism in the Arctic.


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How to Cite
van Soest M. (2023). An Arctic expedition: a supposedly useful thing I’ll never do again. Polar Research, 42.