Field Logistics & Dwindling Ice (Chris Polashenski)

Video Shot in: 2023

Chris Polashenski, in his discussion, reflects on the dramatic changes he has observed in the Arctic over his career. Starting in 2005 in Kaktovik, he recalls seeing multi-year sea ice blocks several meters thick. In contrast, in recent years, he hasn’t seen any such ice formations, with the ice often not even grounding offshore. Polashenski notes the significant reduction in stable ice platforms, making operations like ice camps increasingly challenging and risky. He compares his experiences to those in the 1970s when ice camps like T3 could be occupied for decades, highlighting the drastic shift in ice stability and thickness. Polashenski also discusses his participation in Navy ice camps, noting their adaptation to the changing conditions by shortening camp durations and using more mobile and quick-setup structures. The changing ice dynamics have led to a shift from a permanent settlement approach to a more expeditionary one, with a growing focus on risk management due to the unpredictable and dynamic nature of the ice. This transformation, he observes, is a stark indicator of the rapid environmental changes occurring in the Arctic.