Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: Collaborative Research: Defining the Atmospheric Deposition of Trace Elements into the Arctic Ocean-Ice Ecosystem During the Year-Long MOSAiC Ice Drift (Award# 1753423 )

PI: Kadko, David C (
Phone: (305) 348.5016 
Institute/Department: Florida International University, Department of Biological Sciences 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ARCSS
Program Manager: Dr. Gregory Anderson ( )
Discipline(s): | Oceanography |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
This project will use a Beryllium 7 (7Be) method in a year-long expedition as part of the international Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition to assess the seasonal variability of aerosol deposition. This is the first opportunity for such a comprehensive study of the yearly depositional flux of trace elements (TEs) into the Arctic ocean/ice ecosystem. The combination of 7Be and aerosol TE measurements has been shown to be an effective tool for estimating the atmospheric input of TEs in remote ocean regions where nearby land-based collection sites do not exist. The data generated in this work will be available to allow ground-truthing of models of aerosol deposition and atmospheric input of TEs. Atmospheric deposition is the dominant pathway by which anthropogenically-derived trace elements, such as mercury (Hg), enter the Arctic Ocean, and recent literature suggests that atmospheric deposition of biologically-essential trace elements such as iron (Fe) could play a major role in controlling biological productivity in the Arctic. Atmospheric transport and deposition of aerosols is an important delivery mechanism of natural and contaminant trace elements (TEs) to the Arctic. Existing data show that atmospheric deposition of contaminant elements like Hg, Pb, and Se may be a major input of these elements to the Arctic, with likely sources being anthropogenic - industrial or power plant emissions associated with fossil fuel combustion in Europe, Russia, and Asia. The atmospheric input of biologically-essential trace elements (e.g. Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn) plays a key role in controlling biogeochemical processes in the ocean, and recent work suggests this might be true in the Arctic as well. These inputs have strong implications for the ecosystem, and even human health. Assessment of this input is difficult because measurements of deposition rates in remote ocean regions are scarce and are particularly daunting to take in the Arctic because harsh conditions and limited research platforms make it difficult to obtain quality-controlled precipitation and aerosol chemistry measurements on a routine basis. This research will provide estimates of the yearly atmospheric deposition flux of aerosol TEs (total and soluble), including those of biogeochemical importance as well as pollutant species. The seasonal evolution of partitioning of trace element deposition among the various catchments (ice, water, snow, melt ponds) will also be assessed. The work will involve measurements of 7Be inventories, 7Be aerosol activities, and aerosol concentrations of TEs. Field work will be during a year-long ice drift of the MOSAiC expedition through the central Arctic Ocean. This project will be a component of the MOSAiC expedition, an international initiative motivated by the rapidly evolving Arctic climate system, with thinning sea ice, warming ocean and atmosphere temperatures, strong climate feedbacks, and dramatic implications for society. MOSAiC has broad international support and has been endorsed by international and US institutions as a project that is critically needed to provide foundational information on the changing central Arctic system required to support coupled model development. The ability to provide estimates of the atmospheric input of relevant TEs to the Arctic Ocean will contribute widely to the field of chemical oceanography, including understanding anthropogenic impacts on the region and the role atmospheric input of TEs plays in Arctic Ocean ecology. The lead institution is one of the country's leading minority serving universities, and the lead researcher has undertaken a mentoring program for students involved in its research activities. The team will record short lectures and video logs that can be used in future iterations of his courses to introduce important oceanographic concepts and give his students a first-hand account of life aboard an oceanographic vessel. Other scientists will be asked to grant interviews to add to the breadth of perspectives, and the outreach will emphasize the role of basic scientific research in improving our understanding of natural phenomena and the planet's response to anthropogenic stressors.

Logistics Summary:
This collaboration between Kadko (1753423, LEAD, FIU), Buck (1753418, U of GA Research Foundation), and Landing (1753408, FSU) will collect estimates of the yearly atmospheric deposition flux of aerosol trace elements as part of the MOSAiC expedition. These include those of biogeochemical importance as well as pollutant species. Starting in December of 2019, the researchers will join the expedition participating in Legs 2-4. The RV Polarstern will depart from Tromso Norway and, once it reaches its destination, will spend the next year drifting through the Arctic Ocean, trapped in the ice. During the set-up phase, the RV Polarstern will enter the Siberian sector of the Arctic in thin sea ice conditions in late summer. A distributed regional network of observational sites will be set up on the sea ice in an area of up to ~50km from the RV Polarstern. The ship and the surrounding network will drift with the natural ice across the polar cap towards the Atlantic, while the sea ice thickens during winter. The research teams will join the expedition for several months at a time (aka legs) as the expedition will change crews and be supplied by other icebreakers and aircraft throughout the year. There will be six legs of the expedition and a total of 23 NSF awards in support of the MOSAiC effort. For more information on the MOSAiC expedition, go to

CPS will provide safety training and travel support for meetings and trainings. All other logistics support will be provided by Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) via the user day fee and/or covered by the PI direct to grant. The AWI user day fee will be covered via an agreement between the NSF and AWI.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2019Arctic Ocean and Seas - MOSAiC Leg 212 / 16 / 2019 12 / 31 / 20191
2020Arctic Ocean and Seas - MOSAiC Leg 201 / 01 / 2020 02 / 15 / 20201
2020Arctic Ocean and Seas - MOSAiC Leg 302 / 16 / 2020 04 / 15 / 20201
2020Arctic Ocean and Seas - MOSAiC Leg 404 / 16 / 2020 06 / 15 / 20201

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