A Canadian Arctic SOLAS Network
Ship: CCGS Amundsen CA
Principal Investigator: Maurice Levasseur
Start Date: 01-09-2007
End Date: 31-12-2010
Citation: Levasseur, Maurice, Jon Abbatt, Richard Leaitch, Yves Gratton, Ann-Lise Norman, Richard Rivkin, Michael Scarratt, Jean-Éric Tremblay and Huixiang Xie, 2007, A Canadian Arctic SOLAS Network. Waterloo, Canada: Canadian Cryospheric Information Network (CCIN). http://dx.doi.org/10.5443/11420
Abstract: We are seeking answers to two key questions regarding the influence of marine processes on Arctic climate: 1) How will the increased flow of Pacific waters through the Canadian Archipelago affect the dynamics of climate-active gases in the ocean, and 2) How will these gases be affected by a reduction of sea-ice cover, and increased areas of open water? These questions have been addressed by our multidisciplinary team during two expeditions on the Canadian research ice-breaker Amundsen as part of the International Polar Year. The expeditions took place during the fall of 2007 and 2008. Eleven (2007) and ten (2008) Arctic SOLAS scientists from 7 Canadian institutions participated to these expeditions which allowed a unique and extensive longitudinal survey of these trace gases and aerosols in the High Canadian Arctic, from Baffin Bay to the Beaufort Sea. The missions enabled us to collect new oceanographic and atmospheric data on the distribution and cycling of DMS, N2O, and VOCs across the Canadian Archipelago and to relate these measurements to the distribution and chemical characteristics of aerosol particles. Activities of this program where coordinated with those of the IPY programs CFL, the Canadian program ArcticNet, and the international programs OASIS and SOLAS. Global surface temperatures are rising at an unprecedented rate, and the patterns of change during recent decades strongly point to increased man-made emissions of greenhouse gases as the dominant factor. The Arctic is particularly sensitive to this warming. One spectacular effect of this has been a rapid loss of Arctic sea ice in recent years, with major reductions in both its extent and thickness, especially in the summer. Another example is an anticipated increase in the flow of water from the Pacific to the Atlantic through the Canadian Arctic archipelago, which will affect water circulation, ice conditions and the marine microbial food chain. Biological processes in the world¿s oceans, especially those involving phytoplankton (microscopic plants) and bacteria play an important role in the cycles of various gases which influence climate, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), halocarbons, and dimethylsulfide (DMS). These gases affect the climate in various ways, either as greenhouse gases, or as sources of aerosols - microscopic dust particles which scatter and absorb sunlight in the atmosphere. It is not known for certain how Arctic climate change will influence the dynamics of these gases in the ocean, ice and atmosphere, but it is reasonable to expect that increased areas of open water, and changes in ocean circulation and temperature will alter the biological and chemical processes which produce and consume climate-active gases and aerosols. It is the goal of the Arctic SOLAS (Surface Ocean - Lower Atmosphere Study) program to explore the interactions between sea ice, water circulation, marine microbiological activity and emissions of these gases from the ocean to the Arctic atmosphere.