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International

A year in the ice: Scientists set sail

on Arctic expedition

BERLIN (AP) — An international team of researchers set off Friday on the biggest and most complex expedition ever attempted in the central Arctic, a yearlong journey they hope will sharpen the scientific models that underpin human understanding of climate change.

The 140-million euro ($158 million) expedition into the ice will see 600 scientists from 19 countries, including Germany, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, work together in one of the most inhospitable regions of the planet.

“The Arctic is the epicenter of global climate change,” expedition leader Markus Rex of Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Ocean Research said ahead of the launch. “At the same time, the Arctic is the region of the planet where we understand the climate system least.”

Packed full of scientific equipment, the German icebreaker RV Polarstern left the port of Tromsoe in northern Norway accompanied by a Russian vessel, the Akademik Fedorov, to search for a suitably large floe on which to anchor.

As the days get shorter and the sea freezes around the vessel, crews will race to set up research stations on the ice, some many miles away. Then the Polarstern and the network of camps are set to slowly drift toward the North Pole, with rotating teams of dozens of scientists spending two months conducting research on the ice.

Greek island refugee camp

too crowded to house newcomers

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A perpetually overcrowded refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos can’t accommodate any more newly arrived asylum-seekers after the number of people already housed exceeded the camp’s intended capacity by 400%, authorities said Friday.

Migrants who made it to Lesbos were sleeping in the open or in tents outside the Moria refugee camp, and the population inside has reached 12,000, two regional officials told The Associated Press.

Some newcomers were being taken to a small transit camp run by the United Nations’ refugee agency on the island’s north coast. The Moria camp was built to host 3,000 refugees.

The island authorities said at least 410 migrants coming in boats from Turkey reached Lesbos on Friday.

The officials asked not to be identified pending official announcements about the camp.