The event was arranged jointly with the Embassy’s Climate Section and the Consulate General in St Petersburg. It brought together prominent British experts in polar oceanography and climate change - Prof. David Vaughan (Science Director, British Antarctic Survey), Prof. Peter Wadhams (University of Cambridge) and Prof. Lucy Carpenter (University of York). SIN Russia also secured the presence of leading Russian Arctic & Antarctic researchers from AARI, VNIIOceangeologia research institute, and Archangelsk-based North Arctic Federal University. As a result, the event featured among others such renowned Russian specialists in the field as Dr. Valery Lukin (Head of Russian Antarctic Expedition, AARI), Dr. Alexander Klepikov (Head of Antarctic Oceanographic Department, AARI), and Dr. German Leitchenkov (Head of Antarctic Geoscience Department, VNIIOceangeologia) among others.
Split into two thematic sessions, the roundtable programme involved presentations by both UK and Russian experts covering a range of research strands and activities, including British Antarctic Survey science programme overview, AARI’s studies of the Antarctic climate and the Southern Ocean, Scientific highlights from the NERC Arctic Research Programme, and Directions of potential UK-Russia Cooperation in the Antarctic geosciences.
As part of the event, the UK researchers visited the AARI’s Climate and Environmental Research Laboratory, meeting with its Head Dr. Vladimir Lipenkov and his team who made headlines some two years ago, having successfully drilled down the Vostok subglacial lake. Dr. Lipenkov gave a brief talk on his team’s work at the lake Vostok, following which the UK experts had a tour of the laboratory and were shown some of its truly unique belongings – ice pieces extracted during the lake Vostok drilling.
The roundtable closed off with a discussion of possible areas for prospective bilateral co-operation, during which both sides shared their impressions and proposed an action plan. To mark the occasion, the Consulate General in St. Petersburg hosted an evening reception for the roundtable participants. Both the roundtable and the subsequent reception helped strengthen UK-Russia Arctic & Antarctic research links and opened up new opportunities for future joint use of research facilities.
On 28 November Consul General in St. Petersburg Keith Allan, SIN Russia team and the Embassy’s Climate Section accompanied the UK experts to the Voeikov Main Geophysical Observatory (MGO), where the UK professors met with the Observatory’s Head Vladimir Katsov and had a guided tour of the Observatory’s Museum.