Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: An Arctic Ocean sea surface pCO2 and pH observing network (Award# 1504410)

PI: DeGrandpre, Michael (
Phone: (406) 243.4118 
Institute/Department: U of Montana, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\AON
Program Manager: Dr. Diane McKnight ( )
Discipline(s): | Oceanography\Marine Biogeochemistry |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
Global warming and other climate-related processes are rapidly changing the Arctic Ocean. Summer sea ice is disappearing and the sea surface is warming and becoming less salty. This changing physical environment is altering basic biological processes and air-sea exchange of gasses. The carbon cycle is of particular interest in the Arctic because it is unknown how carbon dioxide sources and sinks are changing and whether these changes will lead to increased greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere. It is thought that with less ice cover the Arctic Ocean will absorb more human-produced carbon dioxide. Higher carbon dioxide levels cause the ocean to become more acidic because carbon dioxide forms carbonic acid when it dissolves in water. The increase in the acidity of the water can affect the food web by harming shell-forming organisms. In spite of these important issues, not much is known about the carbon cycle in the central Arctic Ocean basins. Nearly all measurements of ocean acidity have been made on the Arctic shelves during the summer period when access is easy. We will measure the amount of dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide in the surface water and its acidity in the central Arctic Ocean during cruises on the ice breaker Louis St. Laurent and on year-round oceanographic moorings. Outreach activities include continued operation of an ocean acidification exhibit that we developed for University of Montana’s science museum which has been seen by thousands of museum visitors. The research will specifically support installment of a shipboard underway pCO2 system along with deployment of pCO2, pH, and photosynthetically active radiation sensors on the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution time-series moorings in the Beaufort Sea. The ship follows the same cruise track since the program began in 2003, starting south on the Beaufort shelf and extending to the northern Canada Basin. Three moorings are deployed annually with a subsurface profiler that measures conductivity, temperature, depth, and dissolved O2. Our sensors are deployed at ~35 m depth, just below the subsurface float. These data will allow us to compute air-sea CO2 fluxes and net community productivity during periods when there is less than 100% ice cover and photosynthetically active radiation is greater than zero. The quality-controlled shipboard and mooring data will be made available to the scientific community by submission of the data to the Arctic data repository (NSF Arctic Data Center - fka ACADIA)

Logistics Summary:
This project aims to better understand the Arctic’s role in regulating greenhouse gasses by understanding the inorganic carbon cycle and how it might be altered by climate change. The project will continue two years of measurements of pCO2, pH, and dissolved O2 in the Beaufort Gyre. The PI will visit three bottom-tethered moorings locations that have been previously established within the Beaufort Gyre as part of the Beaufort Gyre Observation System (BGOS). The moorings will be visited during Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) icebreaker expeditions, most likely the CCG Ship Louis S. St-Lauren that houses the Warsilla bubbler system used for the removal of heavy pack sea ice over the mooring sites. This project will add pCO2, pH and DO sensors on the moorings, which also will have monitoring equipment from other science projects. The moorings are recovered and redeployed every year as part of the BGOS cruises. One researcher from the project will work aboard the ship in the autumn of 2016 and 2017 for the entire 30 day duration of the cruise, which is expected to leave out of Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Canada. In 2017 PolarTREC teacher, Dave Jones (1630463DJ) will join the team.

All logistics will be organized by the researcher and paid through the grant
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2016Arctic Ocean and Seas - Beaufort Sea09 / 15 / 2016 10 / 15 / 20161
2017Arctic Ocean and Seas - Beaufort Sea09 / 06 / 2017 10 / 03 / 20172

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Parameters used to generate this report:, Grant# = "1504410", IPY = "ALL" 
     Number of projects returned based on your query parameters = 1