NETCARE Research Blog
Contribution of Arctic seabird-colony ammonia to atmospheric particles and cloud-albedo radiative effect
NETCARE scientists and their collaborators are working to better understand connections between the components of the Arctic climate system. A study recently published in Nature Communications links ammonia emissions from summertime Arctic seabird-colony guano to observations of newly formed atmospheric aerosol particles. As shown in the below figure, these particles can in turn influence Arctic cloud properties, with resultant climate effects.
Atmospheric particles and clouds play a key, yet not well-understood role in modulating surface temperature, and thus understanding the factors that influence their characteristics is essential. Central to the development of clouds is the availability of cloud condensation nuclei – small atmospheric particles upon which water can condense. Using a combination of observations and computer modeling, NETCARE scientists have determined that summertime Arctic migratory-seabird colonies emit sufficient ammonia to influence atmospheric particles and clouds. Whilst concentrated around the seabird colonies, these seabird-influenced particles can grow and spread through the Arctic, encouraging cloud-droplet formation. As a consequence of cloud-characteristic changes, more incoming sunlight can be reflected back to space, a cooling effect, though not strong enough to offset the impacts of anthropogenic climate change that has led to considerable warming in the Arctic. There are details of the seabird-particle-cloud-climate interconnections that are not yet fully understood, including other possible aerosol-cloud interactions, which will require future study before the net effect of seabird-colony guano on the Arctic climate system can be determined. This newly identified and fascinating ecological-atmospheric connection highlights the interconnectedness of the many components of Earth’s climate system.
-Betty Croft, NETCARE HQP, Dalhousie
Amundsen Campaign - Microlayer skimmer
The microlayer skimmer proved to be incredibly valuable during the 2016 NETCARE field campaign on board the CCGS Amundsen. The skimmer was designed to collect large volumes of the sea surface microlayer in a time efficient manner compared to manual hand sampling methods. We prepared for using the skimmer in the field way back in 2015 at the IOS in Victoria, where we spent a week to familiarize ourselves with the equipment. Despite some initial challenges with the skimmer’s deployment during the campaign, the operation of the skimmer quickly became a routine and effective procedure.
Each time the skimmer was deployed, we would leave the Amundsen in a zodiac and tow the skimmer to a suitable sampling location. Working in the zodiac was a lot of fun and an excellent opportunity for us collect samples in the field. Deployments ranged between choppy conditions in the open Arctic ocean to calm waters amid large icebergs. In the end, we collected concurrent microlayer and subsurface water samples for nearly a dozen sampling locations to be analyzed for dimethyl sulphide, surfactants, ammonia, ice nucleating particles, and hygroscopicity.
I would like to give a special thanks to the Coast Guard crew for helping Vickie and I with each deployment and making everything run smoothly. Without their support, patience and expertise, we would not have been able to make the skimmer deployments a success.
-Matt Boyer, NETCARE graduate student, Dalhousie.
NETCARE 2016 Workshop - November 14th & 15th 2016
The 2016 NETCARE Workshop took place on Monday November 14th and Tuesday November 15th at the University of Toronto Hart House. Over 50 members of the network participated in this two day event, with more than 15 talks and two poster sessions from NETCARE investigators, collaborators, and highly qualified personnel.
Exciting new science presentations and focused discussion sessions helped to guide the network into it's final project year. The program and the presentations are available for download below.
Update on the CCAR Network Enhancement Initiative (NEI)
In the spring of 2016, NSERC announced the availability of additional funds for CCAR Network Enhancement Initiatives (NEIs) that could be applied for via a short proposal. After consulting with all NETCARE Co-Investigators, a proposal was submitted and successfully funded to allow the following activities to occur:
1. NETCARE workshop: "Impacts of Arctic DMS Emissions on Future Climate". A targeted workshop on this topic will be held in January 2017 at the Institute for Ocean Sciences, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, in Sidney BC. This small workshop will largely involve NETCARE personnel, and is being organized by Maurice Levasseur, Knut von Salzen and Nadja Steiner. The attraction of this small format meeting is that it will provide more time for in-depth discussion not possible during our much larger annual two-day NETCARE workshop.
2. Enhanced data archiving activities. One of the key products from the network is the detailed and largely unique data arising from 7 field campaigns, conducted from 2013 to 2016. Dr. Sarah Hanna (UBC) will lead these archiving issues with help from Dr. Felicia Kolonjari (ECCC). The data will ultimately be available via a public website hosted at Environment and Climate Change Canada.
3. Capstone conference on "Status and Future of Arctic Aerosol Research ". This meeting will be held in Toronto November 13-14 2017. Leading scientists in Arctic aerosol research will join the NETCARE team for this meeting, to discuss the state of science in the field. As well, we will have a final one-day NETCARE-only meeting, to wrap up the project.
With these new activities proceeding alongside our research plans, this will be a busy year as the NETCARE project moves towards completion.
Amundsen 2016 Campaign
It's hard to believe that the NETCARE campaign on board the CCGS Amundsen has already been in operation for 2 weeks . We were sad that Joannie left us at Qikiqtarjuaq for the science crew rotation but were excited to welcome Marjo, Aude and Doug. There are now ten of us on board studying different aspects of how the ocean and atmosphere interact, including dimethyl sulphide concentrations in the water and the atmosphere, plankton taxonomy, ammonia sources and sinks, sea spray emissions, and ice and liquid
Today we successfully deployed the skimmer for the second time this leg. It collects surface microlayer and bulk water, which we will be analyzing for various biological, chemical and physical properties. Details from some of these measurements will be described by others later.
The first part of this leg has been in Davis Strait but we are moving into Baffin Bay followed by Nares Strait and there will be many opportunities for sampling in the ocean.
-Rachel Chang, NETCARE Investigator
HQP Training at UDAL
In spring 2016 (from May 15 to 20), I had the opportunity to visit Rachel Chang and also meet with Richard Leaitch at Dalhousie University in Halifax to discuss and learn more about NETCARE’s aircraft observations related to cloud micro-physical processes and aerosols. It was an exciting journey traveling all the way from Canada’s west coast (Victoria, BC) to the east coast (Halifax, NS).
The meeting was motivated by the proposed simulations of the observed cloud micro-physical properties using a single column model. Most of the discussions were related to comparing single column model simulations, and GCM simulations, with aircraft measurements. We were particularly lucky to have Richard for discussions on aircraft measurements that clarified many questions that we had regarding observations and single column model simulations. Special thanks to Rachel Chang for hosting this event and to Richard Leaitch for giving us time and providing his expert opinions and thoughts both on observations and model simulations.
-Rashed Mahmood, NETCARE Post-Doctoral Fellow
HQP Training at CEOS
I had the opportunity to visit Dr. Tim Papakyriakou’s research group at the Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS) at the University of Manitoba in early December of 2015, thanks to NetCare’s HQP training fund. Many members of the group at CEOS are responsible for making measurements of processes in the challenging environment of the marine Arctic. I work at the University of Victoria with a group on biogeochemical modelling of the marine Arctic in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. My work in our project is focused on carbon exchange between the air, sea, and ice in the Arctic Ocean.
The Arctic Ocean is an extreme environment, with conditions often being very different from other marine environments. These conditions make it both unique and somewhat inaccessible, and I have not had the opportunity to experience it firsthand. But it is still important to have a basic understanding of the environmental processes, so it is very helpful to talk to people who have been there and had their boots on the ice.
This trip was aimed at fostering conversations and exchange between our respective groups in two ways. One was by describing how our model works, the assumptions that go into it, and explaining the types of observations that are most helpful in constraining our model. The second way is by learning what observational data is available, the limitations and uncertainties of the measurements, and what proposed measurements would be feasible in the field (or laboratory).
In conversations on my trip, I was able to talk with experts on measurement methods of air-sea and ice-sea gas exchange, of water and ice carbonate chemistry, and the techniques and associated limitations for measuring carbon concentrations in the atmosphere, ice, snow, and water column in the Arctic environment. This information has helped me better constrain our model through comparison to observations. It has also given me a better understanding of the processes involved in the seasonal ice cycle on both the ecosystem and the carbonate exchanges through the seasons.
In addition to these discussions about Arctic fieldwork and equipment, I was also given a tour of the Arctic Research Facility operated by CEOS (shown left). The large tank was in the process of being filled with water and salt mixture to closely match oceanic sea water conditions. It is then exposed to the open air, which in Winnipeg’s winters, can be similar to Arctic conditions.
I also saw a narwhal tusk/tooth (in the CEOS meeting room) and the world’s largest trilobite fossil (in the museum on the 1st floor of CEOS), both shown below.
I would like to thank the many researchers and staff in CEOS who took the time to talk with me and/or made my stay welcome, especially Tim, CJ, Wieter, Odile, Nix, Yubin, Tonya, and Jasmine, as well as NetCare for financial support.
-Eric Mortensen, NETCARE Graduate Student
NETCARE Summer Campaigns: The Movie
The Arctic, probably more than any other populated region in the world, requires the collaboration of so many disciplines and viewpoints to be understood. It is encouraging to know that NETCARE, a Canadian research project, unites so many multidisciplinary backgrounds and scientific platforms. The video you are about to see represents NETCARE commitment to promote the widespread awareness of our shifting Arctic and the scientists working towards understanding these changes.
-Martine Lizotte, PhD, Laval University, Quebec City.
For best viewing please adjust the quality to at least 720p using the embedded settings drop-down menu. To watch directly from Youtube and in full screen, please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAWseRrEILw
NETCARE 2015 Annual Workshop
On the morning of November 16th 2015, NETCARE scientists from across Canada, and our collaborators from the US, France, Germany, and the UK gathered at the University of Toronto for our annual two-day workshop event. This year we chose the Hart House, a historic location at the University of Toronto St. George Campus as our venue for the event.
NETCARE's third workshop featured 17 exciting science talks, three break out sessions to develop plans and create goals for future campaigns, and the annual meeting for the NETCARE Executives and Steering Committee. As a new item this year, we also added two lively poster sessions to include an additional 20 presenters. The workshop program is available for download below.
Many of the presentations from the workshop have been made available for download below, and images of the posters will be made available soon. These are currently available in PDF format only, so figure animations may not work. Please note that many of the presentations contain work that is still in progress; figures and results may not be final products. If have questions about any of the presentations, please feel free to contact Bob Christensen for presenter contact information.
Workshop 2015 Program
HQP Training at Dalhousie
This summer I was lucky enough to spend a month at Dalhousie working with Betty Croft in Randall Martin's group. They were very welcoming and I hugely enjoyed my
working with them on the representation of DMS in GEOS-Chem. Spending the month of July on the east coast instead of in sweltering Toronto was just the cherry on top of the great science sundae! We looked at how well GEOS-Chem is able to simulate boundary layer DMS as compared to our ship-board measurements, and explored how we can use that information to better understand the sources of DMS in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and Baffin Bay.
Not long after getting back to Ontario, I headed further afield to Kiel, Germany, for the SOLAS conference, where I presented the results that came out of my work with Betty and Randall on the data from the 2014
Amundsen campaign. Again, I enjoyed the cool maritime weather while temperatures climbed back home. The conference was very stimulating and I enjoyed seeing NETCARE colleagues there.
I am very grateful to NETCARE for these opportunities to expand my knowledge of air-sea interactions (and for the added bonus of being able to do so in places so close to the sea!)
-Emma Mungall, NETCARE graduate student
HQP Training at UBC - Roya Ghahremaninezhad
I visited Dr. Allan Bertram’s research lab at UBC to measure the freezing temperature of aerosols, from Aug 2nd to 10th. I collected aerosols in six size fractions between <0.49 and 7.0 microns in diameter on board the Amundsen in the Arctic using a cascade impactor fitted to a high volume sampler. The goal of the project was to examine the role of biogenic sulfate on aerosol formation and growth as well as the activation of cloud nuclei to form precipitation during the Arctic summer. We measured total sulfate and the isotopic composition of sulfate aerosols in the isotope lab at U of Calgary and performed apportionment calculations to quantify the amount of biogenic, anthropogenic and sea salt sulfate. Our next step is to identify whether the aerosol sulfate from biogenic or sea salt sources is associated with IN activation. Dr. Bertram’s research focuses on understanding Ice Nucleation mechanisms. I visited Dr. Bertram’s group and lab at UBC to appropriately measure the temperature at which IN form, and now I can apply this to my aerosol samples. These measurements will help identify whether total sulfate or sulfate from a particular size fraction or source is more important for IN properties in the Arctic summer.
I enjoyed the nice weather and my stay in Vancouver, and I would like to thank Allan, Cedric, Pablo, Vicki, and all other people from the Bertram group. Working in their lab and learning more about their work was very interesting for me and I am looking forward to future collaborations.
A look back at Ucluelet 2013, by Ryan Mason
During August of 2013, a number of measurements were made at the coastal marine boundary layer site of Amphitrite Point near the small (and beautiful) town of Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. As recent modelling studies suggest that primary marine particles may influence the formation and properties of ice and mixed phase clouds in marine regions, coastal sites such as this are vitally important in assessing links between the ocean and atmosphere. We hoped to address this during the focused four-week field study.
Needing to supply our own mobile laboratory, we were able to outfit a commercial cargo trailer with power for the instrumentation and a roof platform for dedicated sampling inlets. A big thanks
to Corinne Schiller from Environment Canada for her advice and assistance and the crews of the UBC electronics and mechanical engineering shops for all of their hard work on getting the lab up
and running on time!
The mobile laboratory housed a WIBS and UV-APS for measuring total and fluorescent bioparticle concentrations and size distributions (Alex and Yuri), a CCNc for measurements of aerosol hygroscopicity (Jacquie and Jenny), a CFDC for measurements of ice nucleating particles (Luis), and cascade impactors for aerosol particle collection (myself and Meng). Meng and I used some of these aerosol samples for offline measurements of ice nucleating particles by optical microscopy, while the remainder was used in fluorescence microscopy or ion chromatography analyses. Students and PIs from the universities of British Columbia, Toronto, and Denver were all on hand for part or all of the month, along with shorter stays by researchers from Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
In addition to work at the site, Jacquie, Lisa, Elena and I collected sea surface microlayer samples from a couple of the nearby inlets and open ocean to establish if a connection existed between
local ocean composition and what we were observing during atmospheric measurements. Although our dinghy was of questionable seaworthiness, it turned out to be very worthwhile to get out onto the
water as Luis was able to use these samples to get very interesting data on the properties marine ice nucleating particles.
Overall, the work at Amphitrite Point was very successful, providing information on marine and terrestrial ice nucleating particles, biological aerosols, CCN, and ion concentrations. The study has yielded three publications thus far (published or submitted), and no doubt more will be on the way. With the mobile laboratory still here on the west coast we hope to conduct similar measurements around the province in the near future.
-Ryan Mason, NETCARE Graduate Student
HQP Training at IOS, UVic
To facilitate the collection of the sea surface microlayer samples during the 2016 NETCARE Arctic research cruise, the plan is to bring the microlayer skimmer onboard the Amundsen. The skimmer, designed at the Institute of Ocean Science (IOS) in Victoria, BC, has great advantage over manual sampling methods; it improves the quality of the microlayer samples and significantly reduces the sampling time.
Unfortunately, the skimmer has historically been a temperamental instrument and has not received much attention in the past few years. Therefore, to ensure functionality in the Arctic, the skimmer was in need of some maintenance and improvements. Since I had previous hands-on experience repairing/developing instruments, the folks at IOS agreed I would be a great candidate to spend some quality time with the skimmer.
Before leaving for Victoria, I was not sure what to expect. The trip was prefaced by a brief overview of known problems that needed repaired, but the list was not inclusive.
It was also made clear to me that the skimmer lacked any schematics or documentation. Upon my arrival, I was quickly put to work. After a week and a half of working with the existing system, we were able to perform tests on the water. The practical testing provided direction for further modifications.
During my time at IOS, Vickie Irish paid a few visits from UBC to collaborate with me on the skimmer. We worked together to improve the system, implement a spectrometer, write a manual, and run further tests on the water. We combined our knowledge and practical experience to solve various problems that we encountered with the skimmer. In the end, our efforts were successful. The skimmer is now reliable, more robust, and ready for the Arctic!
All in all, spending time at IOS was a worthwhile experience; the project was challenging and rewarding, I gained valuable experience, and I was able to meet and collaborate with excellent scientists. I want to extend a special thank you to Lisa Miller, Kyle Simpson, and Lucius Perreault from IOS for providing this opportunity.
Matt Boyer, NETCARE graduate student, Dalhousie.
Wrapping up Polar 6 2015
It’s been a whirlwind past couple of weeks, but now our instruments are shutdown, the last bits of data have been collected and Polar 6 is loaded and headed to Ontario. This campaign has been
both challenging and rewarding. We dealt with a number of challenges both from the science side as well as with the aircraft. Despite some electrical problems, weather delays and finally a failed
generator we were able to carry out ten science flights totaling just under 45 hours of airborne time. We have all learned quite a lot about how to do this kind of work in such a harsh
environment, and have collected some very exciting data along the way.
We conducted two very successful science flights from Eureka. In the end this was somewhat less flying time than we had hoped for at this location, owing to dense fog during three of our six days
there. We all enjoyed our time in Eureka, despite a few days of bad weather we were able to get outside for a lot of walks and make a trip to visit the PEARL research station. After Eureka
it was time to head to Inuvik for the last few days of the campaign. After a two day journey from Eureka, stopping in Resolute due to weather, we landed and Doug quickly discovered that our left
hand generator needed replacement. With only a few days left, and without the required parts in Inuvik, we began to think that we might not have any further science flights. But, with an amazing
effort on the part of our crew and others from KBAL the aircraft was ready to fly again within 24 hours. In the remaining two days of the campaign we carried out three science flights both to the
north and to the south of Inuvik. Highlights from these flights included cloud sampling and intercepting polluted air masses with high concentrations of CO, black carbon, ozone and organic
aerosol. These made for quite a contrast to some of the cleaner air masses we had encountered both in the Inuvik area and further north.
We are all at some stage of heading towards home at the moment. I’m flying with Polar 6, which is on its way back to Muskoka Airport now for the de-integration of instruments over the coming
week. This project has been quite the experience, and now I’m looking forward getting home and having the time and mental space to look deeper into the data I have
-Megan Willis, NETCARE Graduate Student
Updates from Eureka
It’s been a while but here we are again! We are currently in Eureka at our third research station. After 10 successful days of flying we are now held back by fog and it’s time for a short
Let’s have a quick look back in time: After several delays due to stormy weather throughout Europe, the Polar 6 and the rest of the crew finally reached us on April 4 in Longyearbyen. As soon as they had landed we started to prepare the aircraft for the science flights. Having spent a week waiting, we didn't want to lose a single minute. Boxes of spare parts and other equipment had to be unloaded, cloud probes mounted below the wings and our instruments tested once more. The weather was predicted to be fair the next day and we were eager to do our first science flight. On April 5 this finally happened! See below some impressions of our first flight.
We have been quite lucky since our first flight, and despite the delayed start everything went very well over the last 10 days. We could fly almost every day and so far we have done 7 project flights and three ferry flights. Thanks to our pilots we were also able to operate some instruments during the ferry flights. This sums up to almost 36 hours of sampled Arctic atmosphere. Eight times we flew up to 20000ft and observed several layers with elevated concentrations of black carbon and relatively large particles, presumably polluted air masses arriving in the Arctic by long range transport. In contrast, in cleaner air masses we found high concentrations of much smaller particles which might have formed locally. In general the atmosphere makes a very different impression than during our summer study In Resolute Bay and it will be exciting to compare data from both studies. Hopefully this will yield a deeper understanding of the processes determining the Arctic aerosol.
For now we hope to get at least another dozen of hours of measurements! See the pictures below to get an idea of what we have been up to the last two weeks.
-Julia Burkart, NETCARE Post-Doctoral Fellow
Polar 6 – Waiting in Bremerhaven
It has been a busy couple of weeks in Bremerhaven. In a flurry of activity all the instruments were integrated, tested, and calibrated before our test flight last Thursday. We encountered some problems on the first test flight and so had a second test the following Saturday, and all went well!
Most of our team made it to Longyearbyen in the last couple days by commercial flights. I’m heading up to Longyearbyen via Tromsø with the Polar 6 so that I can take care of my instrument, the SP-AMS, which we hope to keep under vacuum as much as possible. After the test flight we pulled off the under-wing cloud probes, and packed up the plane.
It’s pretty jam-packed, but with enough space for three passengers. Unfortunately, our progress has been hampered by poor weather over Norway and winds gusting up to 50 mph in Bremerhaven today. So now it’s just waiting, and trying not to get too jealous of my colleagues who are already in the Arctic. In the meantime, here are a few impressions from the past two weeks.
-Megan Willis, NETCARE Graduate Student
POLAR6 - The campaign starts with waiting…
We, half of the crew including me, arrived Saturday at our first research station - Longyearbyen, Svalbard - by commercial flights. If things had gone as planned I would not be writing a
blog entry right now but be sitting on Polar 6 operating instruments on our second research flight. Instead,
I am waiting here in Longyearbyen for our research planes to arrive and it seems that we are really unlucky with the weather this time. Stormy weather across northern Europe keeps both planes delayed.
The Polar 6 has not yet managed to leave Bremerhaven, while Polar 5 is stuck in Tromsø hoping for the weather to calm down around Longyearbyen. While the weather was still nice yesterday we took the chance to drive around the area and do a little sightseeing – as much as we could without having a gun to protect us from polar bears and without most of our polar clothes that are packed on the research aircrafts.
I was surprised to learn that Longyearbyen is quite a touristy place with bars and shops around
and visitors from all over the world. The Arctic scenery is impressive: shining white mountains and even some wildlife once in a while.
However, already towards the evening the weather started to change and overnight I was startled awake a couple of times believing our container hotel gets blown away the next moment…
Today the weather is even worse and walking a few meters from the car to the next door is highly unpleasant. So we spent the day in our office at the airport waiting for weather updates and figuring out alternative plans for the upcoming days.
-Julia Burkart, NETCARE Post-Doctoral Fellow
Polar 6 – A quick look at the integration
The integration of instruments into the Polar 6 is under way here in Bremerhaven, Germany. Almost everyone has arrived to start up their instruments and do some final preparations before our
departure date on March 27th. So far, the plane is still empty with everyone is spread out around the hangar doing our best to get everything working. Both the Polar 5 and 6 are here in
Bremerhaven. For this campaign the Polar 5 will focus mainly on sea-ice measurements, while Polar 6 will continue its focus on aerosol chemistry and cloud properties. In the coming days Polar 6
will start to be populated with instruments, but for now here is a quick look at the integration so far!
Preparing for the next POLAR6 campaign
Preparations for the upcoming NETCARE aircraft campaign have been under way in Toronto for the last few months. Late last week we packed
up our instruments and sent them on their way to Bremerhaven, Germany, where we will spend about two weeks integrating them into the Polar 6 starting on March 9th. Unlike our last campaign, which
was based entirely in Resolute, NU, this project involves moving between several stations in conjunction with the AWI PAMARCMiP campaign on the Polar 5. Our first station is Longyearbyen, and
from there we will go to Nord, Alert, Eureka and finally to Innuvik, spending several days at each point and conducting science flights from all locations between March 28th and April 22nd.
Our goals for this campaign include characterization of black carbon aerosol and its removal processes during Arctic springtime, investigation of pollution transport processes, and
characterization of ice clouds and mixed-phase clouds.
My role in this campaign is again to operate the soot-particle aerosol mass spectrometer (SP-AMS) aboard the Polar 6. I learned a lot from running the instrument on the Polar 6 last year, and I hope I can put this experience to work on our upcoming campaign. This campaign will come with a whole new set of challenges, not the least of which is keeping the mass spectrometer happy and running in extremely cold conditions. We hope to make this happen using an insulated instrument blanket and heaters, which we will carry on the plane with us.
Preparation for this campaign has involved a large team of dedicated people from AWI, Environment Canada, UBC, UQAM, UofMainz and UofT. Here in the chemistry department John and Dave, from our machine shop, have helped out a lot by providing some creative solutions to challenges I experienced last year. These were some things I had never thought about, like protecting my instrument from the aircraft heating system that pulls in heat directly off the engines, resulting is rapid temperature changes. We are lucky to have John and Dave around, before the last NETCARE campaign they re-racked my instrument for use in the aircraft. It was a big job, but they came up with a really functional design.
Preparations this time weren't without their own challenges and surprises. The SP-AMS was working really well up until two weeks before our ship-out date, when we had a hardware failure that put a hold on the tests I was doing with the instrument. We had great support from the company that makes the SP-AMS, Aerodyne, and they manufactured a new part for us and had it shipped all within about five days. It was a great relief to be able to test the new part before everything was shipped to Germany!
Once February 13th rolled around the only thing left to do was pack everything up and hope for the best. Here’s hoping for a successful campaign!
-Megan Willis, NETCARE Graduate Student
December Arctic Change Meeting
In the second week of December, many of us who are part of NETCARE attended the annual ArcticNet meeting, Arctic Change, in Ottawa. I very much enjoyed the meeting, for two very different reasons
(apart from the delicious food and seeing friends from the Amundsen): first, how much great science there was that directly related to my work, and second, how much great work there was being
done that I didn't know about and got to learn about.
Some great talks and posters as well as more informal chats gave me many ideas for my own work as well as giving rise to what I hope will be fruitful collaborations. Learning more about what goes on in ArcticNet, particularly some of the social science aspects, was an unexpected benefit that I am very thankful for. I can't speak for others, but everyone certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as I was! The beautiful snow that fell while we were there was an extra bonus for this Torontonian missing Montreal winters
-Emma Mungal, NETCARE Graduate Student
HQP Training - A visit to Quebec to connect with fieldwork experts
As part of NETCARE HQP training, I visited Dr. Maurice Levasseur’s lab at Laval University in Quebec City, from the 4th to the 14th of November, 2014.
The primary goal of my visit to Quebec was to develop on the scientific communication between the modelling and fieldwork communities of the marine DMS research group (i.e. Activity III of NETCARE objectives). This knowledge exchange is crucial, primarily because the quality of modeling work often relies on observational/experimental data collected by fieldwork experts.
In my previous training in ocean modelling, opportunities to work in the field or in a laboratory setting were scarce. Consequently, my knowledge of the methodological aspects of observational and experimental studies were quite limited. During my stay at Laval University, I gained further understanding of DMS(P) measurement techniques (e.g. Gas Chromatography, rate measurements using 35S radiotracers, sampling using Tenax) that are conducted both in the lab and on the CCGS Amundsen, using several types of equipment (see photos below).
I also visited Dr. Michel Gosselin’s lab at the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR), where I was given the occasion to deliver an informal talk on my recent work. This trip was also a great networking opportunity as I was able to meet fellow modellers and observationalists at ISMER-UQAR and the Maurice Lamontagne Institute.
The discussions facilitated the identification of key datasets including particulate and dissolved DMSP concentrations, DMSPd loss rate constant, and DMS yield, all of which can be used to tune our ecosystem-DMS model and further develop model parameterizations.
I’d like to thank the following NETCARE scientists for their support and fruitful discussions during my stay: Maurice, Martine, Margaux, (Laval University) as well as Michel and Marjolaine (UQAR). I’d also like to thank the Takuvik group of Laval University who kindly took me to the Rimouski trip with them.
-Hakase Hayashida, NETCARE Graduate Student
NETCARE Outreach – Toronto Public Library Talk
Back in May several NETCARE personnel at the University of Toronto were forwarded an e-mail from the Toronto Public Library (TPL). The library was interested in finding individuals to give a public talk about science in the Arctic and climate change as part of their Environmental Education program. There was a lot of interest from NETCARE’s end, so Emma Mungall and I ended up volunteering to talk about our research and experiences aboard the Amundsen this summer.
Neither Emma nor I had given a science talk to a public audience before so it was challenging to decide what to discuss. Should we focus only on our work? How much scientific background should give? What level of detail will the audience understand? We gave a practice talk to other NETCARE members and our research groups at U of T and received tremendous feedback. As a result, we re-tweaked our presentation to make it more accessible and to showcase the fascinating research of other scientists on board (in addition to our work).
The talk was at the Kennedy/Eglinton branch on October 21. We had an audience of 25, mostly middle-aged people and senior citizens. Fortunately, there was a great amount of enthusiasm and participation from the audience (see below for shots of Emma and me in action)! People were intrigued by all the research we presented, and captivated by the photos and videos from our time on the Amundsen. Some diligent audience members were even taking notes. It was very interactive and we both enjoyed the opportunity to share our experiences with the community.
POLAR6 - Back in the lab
All the NETCARE participants have arrived safely back home and we are all working on the process of interrogating our data and doing our best to understand the measurements we made in the field. I am working with flight data acquired using the Soot-Particle Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (SP-AMS) from eleven science flights, as well as from ferry flights between Muskoka airport and Resolute.
Overall, I am very pleased with the performance of the SP-AMS during the science flights (I was very fortunate that nothing broke during the campaign!). Since the Arctic is such a clean environment in the summer I am very happy that I was able to detect aerosol components such as sulphate, ammonium, organic species and methansulfonic acid. Using these data I hope to be able to gain a clearer understanding of aerosol composition in the summertime arctic and how this composition changes with altitude. My first impressions of the data suggest that I can observe a stronger influence of the ocean on aerosol composition at lower altitudes, through increased levels of methanesulfonic acid. At the same time I can see that the extent of aerosol aging (or oxygenation) seems to increase with altitude. A question is whether these more aged particles aloft are from regional sources within the Arctic or are due to long range transport.
Looking ahead, as part of the NETCARE HQP training program I will be travelling to Halifax in November, to work with Randall Martin and Betty Croft. While there I hope to make the first steps towards comparing the data I collected this summer with the global chemical transport model GEOS-Chem. Later in the fall I will be travelling with other NETCARE HQP to San Francisco for the American Geophysical Union annual conference, where we will be presenting our results from the summer campaigns.
While thinking about what to write for this blog entry I found myself looking back through my photos from the campaign. For my final post about the NETCARE summer campaign here are a few moments that made me smile. Enjoy!
-Megan Willis, NETCARE Graduate Student
It’s hard to believe my 6 weeks aboard the Amundsen have come to an end and that I’m sitting in my office back at U of Toronto. I’ve reintegrated back into society with mixed feelings – I miss the allure of the Arctic and those on board but am thrilled to see family and friends again, as well as fresh fruit. All in all it was a successful voyage. We managed to keep our instruments working for the majority of the 6 weeks and have obtained extremely unique data sets. There will certainly be plenty of collaboration and exciting analysis over the next 12 months – stay tuned!
Fortunately demobilization went smoothly – we had to pack up two labs to make space for other scientists coming on board for Leg 2. It sounds simple, but the equipment is heavy and some of the packing cases can’t fit through the narrow doors on the Amundsen. The hardest part was transporting my equipment from the Forward Filtration Lab (1 deck below at the front of the ship) to the storage container (1 deck above at the back of the ship). We couldn’t just carry the cases as they were too heavy and bulky for the narrow corridors/stairs. So the First Officer had the idea of using a crane to lift the cases onto the barge (see picture), and then drive the barge around to the back of the ship where they lifted them back on deck using another crane. It was a little surreal watching all the expensive equipment my PhD depends on dangling over the Arctic Ocean. Nonetheless, the Coast Guard are very good at what they do and the whole process took less than an hour for my 5 cases.
Two days later we were all transported off the boat in Kugluktuk, NU. Since there is no harbour, everyone and everything had to be brought ashore with the helicopter which gave us the chance to where these bright yellow immersion suits (see picture). We also had to opportunity to hike around Kugluktuk for several hours. It felt great to be on solid ground and not restricted to the same 100 metres we had been confined to for six weeks! However, having said that, I would jump at the chance to go back.
-Greg Wentworth, NETCARE Graduate Student
Amundsen - Dating meltponds
(Blog entry from week of July 20-26)
For the meltpond people aboard the Amundsen the last week or so has been both exhausting and rich in new experiences. The ship was surrounded by ice in Lancaster Sound and was hardly making its way towards Resolute Bay. Every gained metre was a struggle against ice. Up in the arctic one might expect to find a smooth and regular frozen sea ice surface, but that could not been more wrong; the ice surface is irregularly punctuated by ponds of melted ice, or meltponds.
These meltponds appear every year when the ice starts to melt. In the Arctic, the speed at which these develop has increased in recent years and they’ve become a much more obvious characteristic of the environment. They have caught the eyes curious arctic scientists, and we have started to wonder many things about these intriguing Arctic features.
Could life be happening in these ponds? If so, would it be different from the life below the ice? And what happens this life once the ice has completely melted? Could these meltponds be a source of life above the ice, and also alter life below the ice by changing the amount of sunlight that penetrates the ice? Ahhh! Too many questions for a single brain!!
In order to answer some of these questions, a small group of brave scientists decided to sample these meltponds; this was the research opportunity that ultimately led to my decision to start a masters program. My task within the group is to compare the productivity of the algae biomass to the productivity in the surrounding open water, and in water along the ice edge. To conduct our sampling, water is collected using a pump that is placed directly in the meltponds, whereas in open water we collect water samples using a rosette that is placed within the water column. Once we have collected a sufficient number of samples, I use them to measure and compare several important characteristics. In particular, the concentration of chlorophyll a (a green pigment contained in all plants) which can be used as an indicator of biomass.
From aboard the Amundsen we have been able to collect meltpond samples in the middle of Lancaster Sound that will allow us to better understand the life history of meltpond algae. How many questions will we answer from the data collected, and how more will be raised? A few more months of analysis back in the south in our sophisticated labs should give us an idea of the amplitude of the mystery we just dipped into.
-Joannie Charette, NETCARE Graduate Student
POLAR6 - The final campaign days
As we had to cancel several flights due to bad weather, so we planned quite ambitiously for the remaining two days of the campaign. On July 20 we could sample ship plume while the Amundsen was almost stationary conducting oceanographic work in the Sound close to Resolute. Engine loads were low and, adding to this, the foggy conditions made it challenging for us to actually find the plume. By eye it turned out to be indistinguishable from the fog and while circling around we had a hard time to avoid catching our own exhaust instead!
On our last campaign day, July 21, we had scheduled two flights. The first flight was again entirely dedicated to ship plume sampling. Having learned from yesterday’s experience we did a lot better and could characterize the ship plume at several distances from the Amundsen. This time even without crossing our own exhaust. Also, we had asked for high engine loads and the captain kindly followed our request to break through ice the night before and during our plume sampling. After sampling was completed the Amundsen crew invited us to do some photo shooting. See the picture above and watch carefully to find the POLAR6 just right beside the Amundsen!
For the very last flight we decided to go as far east in Lancaster Sound as weather conditions would permit. On an earlier and sunny flight we had evidenced an event of possibly nucleated and grown particles and now we were curious to see whether this event was reproduced under changed meteorological conditions. We couldn’t observe such an event low down again but instead we came along an accumulation of tiny particles aloft when we did two profiles up to 9500ft.
We were very happy about these successful final campaign flights and got even more excited as we could spot a group of polar bears during one of our low altitude flights! What a nice add-on to an already exciting campaign!
POLAR6 - Ferry flights home and de-integration
On July 23rd we left Resolute on Polar6 and retraced our steps back towards Toronto. We made stops in Baker Lake, Churchill, Pickle Lake and finally Muskoka were we unloaded the plane and made our way home.
South of Resolute, over Boothia Peninsula we began to encounter layers of haze at higher altitudes, likely from forest fires, that extended almost all the way back to Muskoka. The haze was visible not only in our instruments, but also out the windows. It obscured much of our view of the scenery as we headed south.
Now we are back in Muskoka again for the de-integration of our intruments from Polar6. I find it amazing how quickly the instruments can be removed when it took more than two weeks to get everything installed and running.
The campaign was a great experience and I am looking forward to our next adventure on Polar6, although it will be much colder next time!
POLAR6 - The end to a successful campaign
On July 23rd 2014 the POLAR6 campaign has officially come to its end. Our colleauge from AWI, Andreas Herber passed along a final message to everyone involved along with a few closing photos:
"I would like to say thank you very much to all of you for the great time in Resolute Bay. The great success of the campaign was only possible by the
excellent enthusiastic work effort of all of you. I enjoyed the time together with you and my feeling is, that the spirit of the group was great. Hopefully to
see you again for the next joint party – the NETCARE Spring 2015 tour trough the Arctic. " -Andreas Herber
The first and second reports of the flight campaign can now be downloaded here:
-Bob Christensen, NETCARE Project Manager
Amundsen - Last day of Leg1a
Yesterday, July 24th, was the last day of Leg 1a. During leg 1a, I measured DMS concentration on the board of the CCGS Amundsen. Also I was very lucky and I had the opportunity to collect some air samples from different melt ponds with the oceanographic team.
Sulfur isotope ratios (34S/32S) offer a way to estimate the oceanic DMS contribution to aerosols formation. I will study the chemical and isotopic composition of size fractions for sulphate aerosols collected by High Volume sampler on the board of the ship. I collected aerosol samples at the same time as precipitation and fogs to compare the characteristics of aerosols in each size fraction with the characteristics of the sulfate in the precipitation. This measurement will allow us to explain the contribution of DMS oxidation in aerosol activation.
-Roghayeh Ghahremaninezhad, NETCARE Graduate Student
Amundsen - Some details on microlayer sampling
A second microlayer sampling station was conducted on July 23rd near Resolute. The sea surface microlayer is an important biogeochemical system whose contribution to the production of climate-active gases and role in atmospheric processes and cloud microphysics is still poorly understood. Our comprehension is especially deficient in the remote Arctic, a highly heterogeneous bio-physical environment undergoing dramatic seasonal increases in ice-free waters. As part of Netcare’s Theme 2, several questions, linked to this potential new microlayer surface, need to be addressed: 1) Is the surface microlayer (SML) an enriched source of the climate-active gas dimethylsulfide (DMS) and ice nucleating agents/microorganisms? 2) What are the inherent properties and roles of the SML for ice nucleation (IN) and DMS emissions?
In order to address these questions, an array of measurements are being conducted including: surfactants, transparent exopolymers, total organic carbon, ice nucleation activity, cloud condensation nuclei, cell counts, and reservoirs of sulfur compounds (DMS-DMSP).
-Martine Lizotte, NETCARE Research Associate
POLAR6 - CO and CO2/H2O measurements
During the NETCARE 2014 campaign in Resolute Bay, CO and CO2/H2O measurements were performed by the University of Mainz. For CO a fast CO monitor from Aero-Laser was used (we thank the Max Planck
Institute for Chemistry Mainz for the possibility to use the CO instrument). The measurement method of the AL5002 is based on the fluorescence of CO in the VUV at 150 nm. The fluorescence
light in the wavelength range between 160 nm and 190 nm is detected by a VUV photomultiplier followed by a fast counter. CO2 and water vapor are measured with a modified LI-7200 from Licor
Biosciences. The modifications include a pressure and flow control of the instrument as well as the implementation of in-situ calibrations during the flights. The LI-7200 optical source emits
infrared light through a chopper filter wheel and the enclosed sample path to a temperature-controlled lead selenide detector. Some of the infrared light is absorbed by carbon dioxide and water
vapor in the sample path, and the ratio of absorption to a reference is used to compute density of the gases.
The instrument as well as a supply gas for the UV lamp of the CO analyzer are installed in a rack together with the AWI UHSAS and SP2 instrument. An additional bottom plate contains calibration gas and pumps for the trace gas instruments.
The measurements of CO, CO2 and water vapor allow us to characterize the structure of the arctic boundary layer. This includes spatial as well as temporal variations due to different surface or synoptic conditions. In addition, long range transport from lower latitudes can be identified by different values of CO and CO2 or sources of pollution can be identified. On several flights a pollution plume with enhanced CO mixing ratios at higher altitudes (>3000ft) was observed. Most likely these air mases are influenced by biomass burning events in the North West Territories. In contrast the last part of the campaign was dedicated to ship emission measurements. Most of these plume encounters were observable in CO2 such that emission indices of other tracers (NOx, BC, particle number) can be inferred. Both pollution sources in general show different characteristics with respect to trace gas concentrations.
-Heiko Bozem and Peter Hoor, University Mainz, NETCARE Collaborators
Amundsen - The end of Leg1a
On the last day of Leg 1a, we are sitting in the ice edge just south of Resolute, ready for the science crew change tomorrow. The sun has come out and exposed the landscape, making a stark change from the last few days of fog and rain. The contrast between the blue of the open water of the lead and the white and light blues of the ice is striking, and highlights the soft browns of the mountains. I am very curious about the ground and wish that I could visit the land - I can't tell from here what the textures are. When I get back, I will ask my colleagues who were in Resolute for the Polar6 campaign my questions: what is the brown colour - rocks or dust? Is there lichen on them? What does it smell like? I can see Resolute in the distance, a tiny collection of buildings. They look like Monopoly pieces. I knew that it wasn't a very big village, but seeing it is different. After so many days of seeing only ocean, fog, clouds, and ice, it was a big surprise to me this morning when I saw those man-made structures.
-Emma Mungall, NETCARE Graduate Student
Amundsen - Melt pond samping underway
The NETCARE oceanographic and atmospheric teams have started sampling over, within and underneath melt ponds to investigate their role in the production and emission of VOC's.
Here Roghayeh Ghahremaninezhad, Margaux Gourdal, Jean-Sébastien Côté and Tim Papakyriakou work tethered to the ship as they collect both air samples to measure concentrations and fluxes of dimethylsulfide (DMS) as well as water for teams waiting on the ship to investigate it's physicochemical and biological properties.
-Martine Lizotte, NETCARE Research Associate
POLAR6 - Update on the flights
After an excellent weather period where we saw evidence for particle nucleation and growth, and where we performed studies of some low level clouds, the fog moved into Resolute on July 13 for
four days. All flights were cancelled and we prepared ourselves for the arrival of the Amundsen. The goals of the Amundsen overlap flights are to extend the measurements being made on
the ship into the vertical, and to characterize the nature of the Amundsen pollution plume.
The fog lifted, allowing a flight on July 17th, but the conditions were not conducive to a flight with re-fueling close to the Amundsen at Pond Inlet – at the mouth of Lancaster Sound.
Instead, the flight stayed closer to Resolute over the Sound. It was very interesting to see how the atmosphere had changed from its character during the earlier, sunny period.
As well, clouds were sampled.
Yesterday, July 19th, the first overlap with the ship occurred while it was in the Sound, heading to the west and with winds behind it. The ship plume was sampled at a number of locations ahead of the ship (carried by the wind), providing a first glimpse of its impact on the background atmosphere.
For the final 3 days of the campaign (July 20 to July 22) , the ship will be close to Resolute in the ice. This will allow for both more ship overflights as well for more studies of the background atmosphere out over the open water over the Sound. The ship’s Captain is willing to change the number of engines and to work under different load, allowing for more detailed ship emissions characterization.
-Jon Abbatt, NETCARE Principle Investigator
POLAR6 - A turn in the weather
Today was the third day that we were surrounded by persistent fog and it’s only now that I realize how lucky we were during the first half of the campaign: sunshine and low winds for almost 10 days in a row. It was a very pleasant first impression of the Arctic.
At the moment flying is impossible as visibility is hardly 30m and the weather forecast doesn’t look so good either: some more low pressure systems are on their way to Resolute. Ralf, our weather expert, is doing his best to identify possible periods of fairly cleared up conditions that might permit the next research flight. We all hope that this will be the case tomorrow and that we can start with sampling the ship plume of the Amundsen in Pound Inlet.
In the meantime data analysis and instrument calibrations have kept us busy. Besides, I found as well time to sort out my pictures and here are a few impressions of the many spectacular views we have enjoyed so far.
-Julia Burkart, NETCARE Postdoc
POLAR6 - A scenic tour on the sixth research flight
On July 13th we had our sixth research flight out of Resolute. In contrast to our past five flights, we spent the majority of our time during this flight over open water in Lancaster Sound. We flew out into the sound at 9500 feet and had a great view of the Devon Island ice cap. We descended and returned between 200 and 3000 feet, providing an even better view of the glaciers.
Of course, we did some sampling as well and found interesing contrasts between this flight over open water and our previous ones over ice, with a nucleation and growth event out over the eastern part of the sound. We also spent some time near the ice-edge in Lancaster Sound, where we spotted some whales while flying low. Everyone was quite happy with this flight, sightseeing and science included!
The video shows a view from the POLAR6 above the Lancastersound ice-edge.
-Megan Willis, NETCARE Graduate Student
Amundsen - The journey begins
And we're off! The CCGS Amundsen, with NETCARE participants onboard, left port on the morning of July 8th as family and friends waved from the dock.
-Martine Lizotte, NETCARE Research Associate
POLAR6 - Details on the flights
We are now approaching halfway through the aircraft campaign, with 5 science flights completed and three more planned before the Amundsen arrives at the mouth of Lancaster Sound on the evening of July 17. At that point, we will be re-directing our attention to sampling the plume from the ship, characterizing the ship emissions, how they evolve in the atmosphere, and, hopefully, how they affect cloud.
Each day flight planning starts at 6 pm with a weather forecast from Ralf Brauner, a meteorologist with us in Resolute who has worked with AWI on a number of campaigns. The weather situation is then confirmed at 8 am the next morning before the flight takes off. A high pressure system has been centred over Resolute since we arrived – we are very lucky – with lows swinging around us. Based on the forecast, we decide where to fly – so far either north to the polynas or south to the ice south of Cornwallis Island. With flights now completed over both solid ice and melting ice, we are turning our attention to the open water of Lancaster Sound. We observed particle nucleation and growth events in that region from the Amundsen in 2008, and hope to again but with vertical profile information from the plane. As well, we have been flying through cloud, both at 200 feet in fogs near the surface (thanks to the pilots, Kevin and John!) and through mid-level cloud, trying to connect the aerosol out-of-cloud to the droplet sizes and numbers in-cloud.
A typical flight profile, prepared by Richard Leaitch – who has been directing each flight on-board the POLAR6 – is shown above. Most flights go at least once to 9500 feet to provide vertical profile information, with one flight now completed to 20000 feet, at which point oxygen is needed (the cabin is unpressurized) and some of the instruments have to shut down because of potential electrical problems. Those flying each day are: Kevin and John (the pilots), Christian or Lucas or Jens (AWI engineer), Richard (Environment Canada), Megan and Julia (U of Toronto), Franzi and Heiko (Max Planck Institute at Mainz and U of Mainz).
-Jon Abbatt, NETCARE Priciple Investigator
POLAR6 - Great weather for flying in Resolute
A stretch of great weather in Resolute has continued for the POLAR6 campaign, with hardly a trace of precipitation so far in July. Here are some more great pictures of our network scientists, collaborators and Kenn Borek Air.
Photos courtesy of Captain Kevin Elke
Unfortunatley it looks as though there might be a bit of rain on its way, but we hope that it won't get in the way of sampling.
-Bob Christensen NETCARE Project Manager
POLAR6 - An article on NETCARE research on the Nunatsiaq News
The Nunatsiaq News Online has posted an article about NETCARE. Lisa Gregoire interviewed Jon Abbatt, and has carefully summarized NETCARE's research questions and goals around arctic aerosols.
-Bob Christensen, NETCARE Project Manager
Amundsen - The day before departure
The ship leaves Quebec City tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m., so today has become a bit of a mad scramble with trips to Home Depot and rushes (in my case) to an internet cafe to download emails and papers I had forgotten I needed.
The hot weather has broken, so I have finally turned on all the instruments (SMPS, CPC, CCNC and HR-ToF-CIMS) in the Control Room Container on the foredeck. It's quite noisy in there now with all the pumps on, but the temperature seems reasonable, i.e. not sweltering. Fingers crossed that it'll stay that way!
With the cool weather has come rain. We're not worried about rain getting into our inlets, though, because of the extremely high tech rain caps we made for them (I am of course referring to the Club Soda bottle and the bowl with a hole drilled in it, silhouetted against the sky in the photo).
The last thing I have left to do is set up my heated 80 foot inlet line. It is going to be run up a tower on the foredeck. The tower has only begun to be set up because Tim Papakyriakou, whose tower it is, was in Greenland on another field campaign until very recently and just arrived on the Amundsen today. I'm hoping that the inlets will go up the tower later this afternoon.
I am very excited to get going! I expect the trip up the St. Lawrence to be very beautiful, and of course I am beside myself with the idea that we'll be in the Arctic so soon. I have to say, though, that the closer we get to casting off the smaller the ship seems. It's hard to believe we'll spend six weeks within its confines. But at least the bunks are cosy!
-Emma Mungall, NETCARE Graduate Student
POLAR6 - Week two flight update
The third science flight took off this morning, heading first to do some low level cloud sampling and then to the north over large polynas located between Bathurst Island and the Grinnell Peninsula. As well, they will do vertical profiles to and from 9500 feet. Heading north, they will fly low (200 feet off the surface), looking to see if aerosol properties change over melting ice, open water, and solid ice. The figure below shows a map of the region (Resolute is at the red asterisk). The other image shows the real-time state of the ice (obtained from http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr2/), with purple colours indicating solid ice.
On the two previous science flights, large numbers of very small particles were observed at low altitudes, transitioning to fewer, larger particles away from the surface. A question is whether the levels of small particles are related to the nature of the terrain below.
-Jon Abbatt, NETCARE Priciple Investigator
POLAR6 - A late arrival, but success with the first flights
Most of the participants arrived Resolute Bay on the evening of Tuesday July 1st. The PCSP facility is excellent – nice rooms and very good food. The arrival of the POLAR6 was delayed for two days because of bad weather in northern Ontario, but finally arrived on Thursday July 03. On Friday and Saturday the POLAR6 made its first two successful science flights.
The first flight path was southerly in the direction of Lancaster Sound, and the second tracked north west towards some large polynas; in both cases the goal was to measure aerosol concentration above the sea ice and the open ocean. The POLAR6 was given a break on Sunday for system calibration on the ground. As weather conditions remain favourable, our next research flight is planned for Monday. Everyone here at the PCSP is in great spirits and is enjoying the far north, and we are hoping for the best of luck with the flights during the second week.
-Andreas Herber, Alfred Wegener Institute, NETCARE Collaborator
A glimpse of the Fata Morgana in Resolute
While calibrating our ground based air quality monitoring station at the weather station in Resolute, my colleague, Ralf Staebler, showed me the horizon and pointed to an "inverse" mirage of distant cliffs of Somerset Island that was forming in the sky! This is called a Fata Morgana (or an inverse mirage).
We know that the cliffs of Somerset Island are 220m high. Based on this, it looks like the mirage starts around an elevation of 400m. So a first guess for the height of the strongest inversion layer is about 300m. This optical phenomenon occurs when rays of light are bent passing through air layers of different temperatures in a steep thermal inversion. A thermal inversion occurs when warmer air exists in a well-defined layer above a layer of significantly cooler air. This temperature inversion is the opposite of what is normally the case. Air is usually warmer close to the surface, and cooler higher up, the reason behind usual mirages forming on the ground in deserts.
In separate but related project, we measure surface air quality (PM2.5, NOx, SO2, and O3) to detect local pollution and also shipping pollution in remote Canadian Arctic sites (Cape Dorset and Resolute). The stations have been running and providing data with 1 minute resolution since last year.
-Amir A. Aliabadi & Ralf Staebler, Environment Canada, NETCARE Collaborators
POLAR6 - The ferry flight to Resolute
After almost three weeks of integration we set out from Muskoka airport on July 2 to begin the ferry flight to Resolute. We were delayed by two days due to poor weather in Northern Ontario and Manitoba, and were all happy to get going once it cleared up. Our first stop, for re-fuelling, was in Pickle Lake and then on to Churchill where we stayed the night. On the following day we flew on to Gjoa Haven for re-fuelling, and arrived in Resolute in the late afternoon.
The most interesting aspect of the ferry flight, for me, was seeing the landscape change as we flew North. First, we saw dense forest dotted with small lakes, then the trees became smaller and thinner as we flew north-west. Approaching Churchill the landscape became more and more like tundra, with just a few small trees and shrubs. Flying north of Churchill it became almost like one large bog; very flat with so much water. The landscape became slowly dryer and north of Gjoa Haven we saw ice and snow for the first time.
When we arrived we were pleasantly surprised to find that the ice edge is very close to Resolute, in Lancaster Sound. Taking advantage of this, we had our first science flight today in this region. We flew as low as 200ft over the transition between sea ice and ocean. Overall, the first flight was a success, with very few problems and some interesting data. The weather is quite nice in Resolute now so tonight we have planned the route for our second flight, which will take place tomorrow morning.
-Megan Willis, NETCARE Graduate Student
POLAR6 - A successful start to the campaign
After the initial delay due to poor weather down south, the POLAR6 arrived at 4:52 pm Resolute time (we were betting on when touchdown would be ...) on the 3rd of July.
The photos are of the plane upon arrival and greeting its passengers: Andreas Herber (AWI, in hat), Franzi (U Mainz), Juli and Megan (UofT). Kevin, the head pilot from Kenn Borek air, is in the background. The first science flight just took place - see video of the plane taking off.
-Jon Abbatt, NETCARE Primary Investigator
Amundsen - A hot day at work in Quebec City
I was very glad my wise housemate suggested I bring some shorts and tank tops for just in case it was hot in Quebec, otherwise I would have been in thermals setting up my equipment in 40 degree heat. The past couple of days I have been busy trying to sort out where the boxes for my instruments would be on the bridge and where to secure them in place. Welding or U-locks? That was the big question. Using U-locks seemed like it would take up less of the crew's time so Allan and I walked in the blazing sun to the Quincallerie Martin to buy ourselves some bits and bobs to make sure these wondrous instruments would not fly off in the middle of some tremendous Arctic storm. Upon our return we found that the plank to get on board the Amundsen had been temporarily removed so no one could get on or off...and the clouds were looking black. A flash rainstorm ensued and with nowhere to shelter so we embraced the warm rain whilst waiting to get back onboard. Since it had been a long day and we were both dehydrated and tired from working in the heat, we thought we would indulge in a little of the ship's wonderful cake before attempting to secure the boxes to the railings. A good job we did too because with the second wind from a delectable, moist choccy cake, we attached the boxes successfully (see picture). A great ending to a hard day at work.
-Vickie Irish, NETCARE Graduate Student
POLAR6 - The trip to Resolute
A number of us flew north to Resolute Bay, Nunavut on Canada Day. Resolute will be the home base for the POLAR6 aircraft campaign. The flights north go from Ottawa to Iqaluit, and from there to Resolute with refueling stops in Hall Beach (a community founded in 1950’s as part of the Distant Early Warning system) and Arctic Bay.
Resolute is a small town (about 200 residents) that is home to a well equipped airport used extensively for Arctic expeditions. Accommodation is at the Polar Continental Shelf Facility that was built to support Canada’s efforts to map its northern territory but is also now used by DND for their Arctic training exercises. Luckily, the blinds in the room are pretty good – with the sun not setting. There are about 10 of us here now, awaiting the arrival of the POLAR6 which was delayed in Muskoka for a couple of days due to bad weather on its route in northern Ontario.
-Jon Abbatt, NETCARE Principle Investigator
Amundsen - NETCARE instruments loaded
I have just returned from a couple of days helping with mobilization of the equipment onto the Amundsen, which is docked at the Coast Guard base just below the Chateau Frontenac. The Amundsen is operated by ArcticNet which, with the help of Keith Levesque, greatly facilitated lifting all our equipment into place. NETCARE has atmospheric sampling instruments in five locations around the ship (from UofT, UBC, UCalgary, Environment Canada).
The white container, on the foredeck, with many of our shipping crates in front, is from where our group will be sampling. Another photo shows John Liggio from Environment Canada whose group will be sampling from the new MetOcean container located just behind the bridge.
-Jon Abbatt, NETCARE Principle Investigator
Amundsen - Prep. work aboard
It's Day 2 of mobilization and the Amundsen is a flurry of activity! Collectively, we've unpacked almost all our equipment and have even started to turn some of it on. Fortunately everything has seemed to survive the transit to Québec City and will fit in the space we've been allocated. Altogether NETCARE operations occupy about 5 labs throughout the ship. I'm getting accustomed to the ship's layout but still end up getting turned around half the time.
The instrument I'm responsible for is housed below deck in an air-conditioned lab, which is definitely a perk given it was nearly 30 degrees today. After spending the better part of the day inside it was nice go up to the top deck to enjoy the fresh air and take in the sights of the docks in Québec!
-Greg Wentworth, NETCARE Graduate Student