Drifting with the sea ice

Drifting with the sea ice

Top image: Maja Hatlebakk. Photo: Private

UNIS PhD candidate Maja Hatlebakk joined the N-ICE2015 research cruise this week. “Norwegian Young Sea ICE Cruise” (N-ICE2015) will follow the first-year sea ice system north of Svalbard from the time new ice is formed in winter until it melts in summer.

17 February 2015

The N-ICE2015 was kicked off in January when the Norwegian Polar Institute research vessel “Lance” was frozen into the ice north of Svalbard. The aim of this project is to let the ship passively drift with the ice until summer 2015.

Throughout the cruise, scientists will study oceanographic properties, the marine ecosystem, the ice itself, radiation, meteorological parameters, ice dynamics and ice mechanics.

RV Lance's drift path in the ice, 2015

RV Lance’s drift path as of 15 February 2015 (Map: Norwegian Polar Institute)

Several objectives
The primary objective is to understand the effects of the new thin, first year, sea ice regime in the Arctic on energy flux, ice dynamics and the ice associated ecosystem, and local and global climate. Secondary objectives include understanding how available ocean heat is mixed upwards towards the sea ice and to what extent it influences the sea ice energy budget.

Also the researchers want to understand the fate of solar radiation incident on the first-year sea ice in the region and how its fate is affected by properties of the atmosphere, snow, ice, and ocean and what effects it has on local and global weather systems.

Maja Hatlebakk, who is a PhD candidate in Arctic marine biology at UNIS, will be collecting data for her own research on copepods, but also for modeling purposes to predict the future development in the Arctic.

Maja will be collecting zooplankton samples and sorting and analyzing these. She is focusing on the Calanus species, which is also the main focus of the Cleopatra II project she is involved in.

The public can follow RV Lance‘s path through the sea ice and read the expedition blog here.

Several scientists from UNIS and other Norwegian and international research organizations are taking part in this novel research experiement.

Basic funding for the N-ICE2015 comes from the Centre for Ice, Climate and Ecosystems (ICE), the Norwegian Polar Institute, the Fram Centre, and the Ministry of Climate and Environment.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email