As a Norwegian contribution to this year’s (2021) Synoptic Arctic Survey, the Arctic Basin cruise extended the sampling transect of Nansen Legacy project from the northern Barents Sea shelf and slope into the deep central Arctic Ocean. Using the Norwegian research icebreaker ‘Kronprins Haakon’, the team was able to investigate the Nansen and Amundsen Basin as well as the Gakkel Ridge separating the two basins during a five-week long expedition.
The scientific team on board was highly interdisciplinary, consisting of 34 participants including physical and chemical oceanographers, ice physicists, ecotoxicologists and biologists as well as safety and helicopter teams. About half of the science team consisted of early career researchers. Chief scientists were Agneta Fransson, Norwegian Polar Institute, and Bodil Bluhm, UiT The Arctic University of Norway.
Sampling efforts focused on sea ice and upper ocean work as well as connectivity to the mid and deep water column and underlying sediments. In addition, the role of transport of elements and organisms from the Siberian shelves through the Transpolar Drift was investigated. Indications of water masses with chemical signatures of the Transpolar Drift were encountered at the northernmost station at 87.5˚N and 17˚W.
The Nansen Legacy Arctic Basin Cruise took place at roughly the same time (Aug-Sep 2021) as the Swedish icebreaker ‘Oden’ was on its SAS expedition in the nearby region between Northeast Greenland and the North Pole.
Written by Lena Seuthe, Scientific advisor Nansen Legacy
An international team of scientists has spent a month on board the Russian research icebreaker, the Akademik Tryoshnikov, studying climate change impacts in the Arctic. From the atmosphere to the High Arctic islands, down the water column to the depths of the ocean, researchers are investigating the ecosystems and biodiversity of the region, and the role they play in our global cycles. Physical and chemical measurements of the atmosphere and the ocean seek to document their interactions with sea ice and to improve forecasts of the changing Arctic environment.
High-resolution ice and sediment cores, that we collect, will allow us understand the history of the ice caps, past climate variability and better understand our future. From the distant past to the present day, litter found at sea and on the beaches of these remote islands paints a picture of the current impact we have on our planet.
This multidisciplinary expedition to the Kara and Laptev Seas, including the archipelagos of Franz Josef Land and Severnaya Zemlya, marks the celebration of one hundred years of the Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute.
The Arctic Century Expedition brought together 29 scientists and 30 early career researchers from 13 countries, to bring new light to these internationally rarely-visited hotspots for climate studies in the Arctic. The expedition was organized jointly by the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in St. Petersburg, the Swiss Polar Institute and the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany.
The Italian contribution to SAS. The CASSANDRA (AdvanCing knowledge on the present Arctic Ocean by chemical-phySical, biogeochemical and biological obServAtioNs to predict the futuRe chAnges) project was recently approved as part of the Italian Arctic Research Program (PRA), and an Arctic oceanographic cruise is planned on board the R/V “Laura Bassi” (Figure 1).
The CASSANDRA oceanographic cruise will have 15 researchers on board and will depart from Longyearbyen (Svalbard Islands) on 29 August and arrive in Bergen (Norway) on 14 September 2021. The project is coordinated by the Italian Institute of Polar Sciences (ISP) and involves the National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics (INOGS) as a participant.
CASSANDRA project seeks to quantify the present state of the physical, chemical, biological and biogeochemical systems of a sub-Arctic historic transect at 75°N crossing the Greenland Sea Gyre (Figure 2). As part of the Synoptic Arctic Survey (SAS), CASSANDRA will operate with a multidisciplinary approach, making use of common protocols.
Emphasis of the project will be also devoted to understanding the major ongoing transformations on the water masses, the marine ecosystem and the carbon cycle. Other relevant measurements along the route of the vessel without interference with navigation will be made: upper layer currents by hull mounted ADCP, surface temperature and salinity by thermosalinograph, broadband shortwave and longwave radiation fluxes, automatic observation of cloudiness conditions, meteo parameters, and sampling activities of biological aerosol.
CASSANDRA will train young researchers and create opportunities to promote the next generation of polar researchers. We chose the name CASSANDRA because today the environmental message manages to permeate more and more, both in the social strata of the population and at the political level, and we would like to dispel your legend of unheard Prophetess.