“Ultimately, we must know how the Arctic system functions to assess risks and to develop policies that allow effective management. Providing this knowledge is the utmost motivation for SAS, because it will testify to the value of international collaboration and of furthering our scientific understanding of the Arctic Ocean”
– from Paasche, Ø., et al. (2019), that summarizes the SAS initiative.
Synoptic Arctic Survey is a bottom-up, researcher driven, initiative aiming at collecting empirical data in the Arctic ocean that cannot be done in any other way than through cruises! As of now, SAS will take place in 2020/2021 involving the coordination of many research vessels (not all ice breakers).
THE GOAL is to generate a comprehensive dataset that allow for a complete characterisation of Arctic hydrography and circulation, carbon uptake and ocean acidification, tracer distribution and pollution, and organismal and ecosystem functioning and productivity.
THE DATA will provide a unique baseline, which will allow us to track climate change and its impacts as they unfold in the Arctic over the coming years, decades and centuries. There can be no doubt that not only future generations of polar scientists will benefit from such a baseline, but also decision makers.
There is a historical LEGACY dating back to The Maud Expedition (1918-1925) where the acclaimed Norwegian researcher Harald Ulrik Sverdrup was in charge of the science conducted at the traverse of the Northeast Passage. Sverdrup later became Professor at the University of Bergen, Director at Scripps Observatory and finally Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute. In 1942 he published, together with Fleming and Johnson, the seminal textbook called «The Oceans».
SAS is an international INITIATIVE that brings together relevant countries with polar interests.