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© Under The Pole

Part Three of the Under The Pole Expeditions

A Globe-spanning, Three-year Scientific and Environmental Expedition

The Air Liquide Foundation is renewing its support for the WHY Expéditions organization as it embarks on a three-year environmental science expedition exploring the Arctic, Atlantic, Pacific and Antarctic oceans.

The Third Global Expedition

In 2009, the first Under The Pole expedition took readings of the thickness of 800 kilometers of the ice bank in order to measure the impact of global warming. In 2014 and 2015, divers and scientists performed another study of the entire annual cycle for the arctic ecosystem as part of Under The Pole II. Now, the explorers involved in Under The Pole III are readying themselves to study a wide variety of underwater environments, ranging from Alaska to the Polynesian archipelagos to the Antarctic peninsula.

36-month long


80,000 km


The Role of Coral Reefs in Regulating the Climate

Departing from Concarneau for a three-year, around-the-world journey, the expedition will make a 15-month stop in the Polynesian archipelagos. There it will conduct an in-depth study of how much dimethyl sulfide gas (DMS) coral reefs emit. Scientists believe that DMS plays role in cloud cover and thus in climate change. Clouds partially reflect the sun’s rays, helping to limit global warming.

Although coral reefs at the surface are relatively well-understood, we still know very little about the deeper reefs, their composition and their impact on interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere. Found 30 to 150 meters below the surface, these Mesophotic reefs can only be explored by specially trained and equipped divers.

The expertise of the Under The Pole divers and a system for real-time communication with the scientists aboard the research vessel will give us more insight into these ecosystems. The samples taken will be analyzed by a consortium of French, Australian and American scientific organizations under the direction of Laetitia Hédouin, Head of Research at CNRS in French Polynesia.

“The goal of Under The Pole is to revolutionize the scientific exploration of the oceans, using innovation to advance scientific understanding.” Ghislain Bardout, Director of Under The Pole Expeditions
500 dives

up to 150 meters below the surface

72 hours

of diving in continuous immersion

100 crew members

including 12 permanently living aboard


“The goal of Under The Pole is to revolutionize the scientific exploration of the oceans, using innovation to advance scientific understanding”

Ghislain Bardout , Director of Under The Pole Expeditions

How is the Air Liquide Foundation involved?

As part of its mission to support scientific research programs in an effort to preserve our atmosphere, the Air Liquide Foundation is contributing €120,000 to the Under The Pole III expedition. These funds will be used to buy equipment required for the expedition, including two diving suits equipped with rebreathers and two underwater scooters.


  • Project Initiator: WHY Expéditions
  • Location: from the Arctic to French Polynesia to the Antarctic
  • Support date: 2017
  • R&D Manager: Dominique Ibarra, Air Liquide Paris-Saclay Research Center