Skip to main content

Menu

Login

Explore more of Isaaffik

Monitoring the Western Arctic Boundary Current in a Warming Climate: Atmospheric Forcing and Oceanographic Response

General

Project start
01.01.2017
Project end
31.12.2022
Type of project
ARMAP/NSF
Project theme
Ocean & fiord systems
Project topic
Oceanography

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Arctic Oceans and various regions
Fieldwork region
Arctic (entire region)
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 71.35800170898, -143.97500610352

Fieldwork start
01.10.2020
Fieldwork end
28.10.2020

SAR information

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Arctic Oceans and various regions
Fieldwork region
Arctic (entire region)
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 71.35800170898, -143.97500610352

Fieldwork start
01.10.2022
Fieldwork end
28.10.2022

SAR information

Project details

02.08.2019
Science / project plan

.

Science / project summary
As Earth's climate has warmed over the past few decades, our planet has experienced many changes. Nowhere have the changes been more pronounced, nor happened as quickly, as in the Arctic Ocean. Pack-ice is melting, water is warming, storms are becoming stronger and more frequent, and basic circulation patterns are being altered. Our project focuses on the fate of the Pacific water that enters the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait. Pacific water plays a critical role in the western Arctic ecosystem. In wintertime, the cold inflowing water provides food for phytoplankton at the base of the food chain. In summertime, the warm water melts pack ice and provides freshwater to the Arctic Ocean. After the water crosses the Chukchi Sea, north of Bering Strait, some of it forms a narrow current that flows eastward along the edge of the Beaufort Sea. As part of our project we will continue to maintain a mooring positioned in the center of the current to measure its physical and biological properties. The mooring has been deployed (with a few gaps) since 2002, and during this time it has measured striking changes that need to be placed in the context of the evolving Arctic system. In addition, we will carry out shipboard surveys of the current and adjacent waters when we service the mooring, to provide a larger-scale view of the fate of the Pacific water. Past data have been widely used by the oceanographic community - in both observational and modeling studies -and are included in the annual Arctic Report Card. One graduate student will be supported on the project. The monitoring mooring is situated at 152 degrees W near the Beaufort Sea shelf break, roughly 150 km downstream of Pt. Barrow, AK. It will be deployed from fall 2018 to fall 2022 (in two 2-year installments). This will extend the time series at this location to 17 years. The mooring records the velocity of the water column and pack ice using two acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs), and measures temperature, salinity, and pressure using a series of sensors spaced along the wire. Chlorophyll fluorescence and nitrate will be measured at 35 m (at the top float of the mooring), and a passive acoustic recorder situated near the base of the mooring will record marine mammal calls. Zooplankton concentration will be estimated using the ADCP backscatter data. Among other things, this will allow us to determine how much water, heat, nutrients, chlorophyll, and freshwater are transported by the current, and, importantly, assess how much exchange occurs between the interior of the Arctic Ocean and the boundary waters. Upwelling occurs during all seasons along the Beaufort slope, and it appears to be increasing as the climate warms. The mooring is ideally suited to quantify the upwelling, as well as any down welling that occurs. The shipboard sampling will include occupations of some of the Distributed Biological Observatory transects, which will contribute to that long-term study.
Close