Flying above the perpetual snow

Researchers in a boat at the Antarctic
Natalia Jaramillo is representing the Universidad de los Andes in scientific expeditions to the Antarctic. Photos by Andreas Vygl.
Research center in the Antarctic
Natalia Jaramillo is representing the Universidad de los Andes in scientific expeditions to the Antarctic. Photos by Andreas Vygl.
Researchers in a boat at the Antarctic
Research center in the Antarctic
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Natalia Jaramillo has crossed the south of the continent to carry out topographic surveys in Antarctica.

She studied history and says that, as a child, she spent time doing stunts with toy planes in the house, and she became a commercial pilot when she was young.

She is now studying a master’s degree in geography at the Universidad de los Andes; is an expert in drone management; and researches and carries out projects related to the history of aviation, maritime history, the history of cartography, and cartographic surveying.

While representing Uniandes, she has participated in four of the five expeditions from Colombia to Antarctica that have implemented new technologies to carry out precision cartography.

During the last expedition in 2019, the images registered by non-crewed airplanes (that she was operating) showed significant changes in the white continent that worried scientists:

“We have noticed that there are sectors of Antarctica that are becoming greener; the landscape has changed. The soil layer, for example, is very exposed and different species of organisms are starting to flower. This indicates that the phenomenon could be related to increases in temperature caused by climate change”, explains the first Colombian historian to join a scientific expedition to the Antarctic.

With the support of researchers from the Colombian Commission for the Ocean and the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute, she intends to evaluate in more depth the reasons for these changes.

“By using an artificial intelligence algorithm, we can correlate data. Based on these correlations, we can generate models that will allow us to create inputs so the scientific community can interpret or extract other variables from these data and generate more responses”.

The Antarctic Program’s sixth expedition begins in December, and Natalia is ready to leave with her drones in search of new data that help to elucidate the transformation of this majestic ecosystem.

Find out more about the project:


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