site.btaRepresentatives of Bulgaria, Spain, Portugal Present Work of Polar Researchers at Bulgarian Pavilion in Dubai

Representatives of Bulgaria, Spain, Portugal Present Work of Polar Researchers at Bulgarian Pavilion in Dubai
Representatives of Bulgaria, Spain, Portugal Present Work of Polar Researchers at Bulgarian Pavilion in Dubai
Left to right: Prof Christo Pimpirev, Prof Antonio Quesada, Assoc Prof Goncalo Vieira, and Dragomir Mateev in Dubai (Personal Archive of Prof Pimpirev Photo)

Results from climate research on the South Shetland Islands were presented here on Saturday within a discussion at the Bulgarian pavilion for COP28. Participating were the Bulgarain Antarctic Institute head, Prof Christo Pimpirev, the head of the Spanish National Programme of Polar Research, Prof Antonio Quesada, the Coordinator of the Portuguese Polar Programme, Assoc Prof Goncalo Vieira, and Dragomir Mateev of the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute. 

The discussion, organized by the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water, was unveiled by Minister Yulian Popov. The talks were moderated by Marina Stefanova from the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of the St Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia. Prof Quesada and Assoc Prof Vieira took part at the invitation of the Environment Ministry and the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute.

"We are here to show that Antarctica is an important area, it is part of the world where climate change is clear to see, without there being human-caused pollution. Our bases are on the South Shetland Islands, where the ice is melting very fast. Ninety percent of Antarctica are covered in ice, and if it melts, that would be a catastrophe," Prof Pimpirev said. "In Antarctica, we work for the whole humanity," he added.  

Prof Quesada said that the situation in Antarctica is worrisome. The South Shetland Islands are Antarctica's most vulnerable zone; there are noticable changes there every year, and researchers identify those caused by climate change. Everything is changing there, he added. He underscored the importance of joint work between the Antarctic expeditions of various countries. In his words, last year five countries began actively exchanging information and organizing logisticts, thus managing to save USD 1.5 million in a year. Politicians needs to understand that Antarctica is important for the entirely world; it is the thermometer for understanding what is happening with the planet, Prof Quesada argued.

Assoc Prof Vieira explained why it is important to study the permafrost [soil or underwater sediment which continuously remains below 0 °C]. In Antarctica, one can see the changes caused by the permafrost melting: oceanic currents change, microorganism activate and some of them end up in the water. All changes in the soil's water content impact on plants and can cause large-scale landslides, he argued. In Antarctica, international cooperation is the key to success in research, he stressed.

Mateev noted the importance of spreading knowledge and scientific results from Antarctic research as well as the need to work for education.

The discussion was joined online by Nikolay Danailov, commanding officer of the Bulgarian naval research ship Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii (RSV 421) en route to Antarctica. He said that the ship is currently near the shores of Brazil as she heads to Mar del Plata, Argentina. He recalled that this is the second Bulgarian Antarctic expedition with a vessel, after over 20 years of Prof Pimpirev doing the expeditions without a Bulgarian ship thanks to the cooperation with Spain, Argentina, and Chile. The ship is transporting cargo for the Turkish and the Portuguese Antarctic programmes. Over ten scientific experiments will be conducted aboard, Danailov said.

/DS/

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By 14:59 on 03.03.2024 Today`s news

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