NETCARE Research Blog 2014


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

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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


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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.

 
-Greg Wentworth, NETCARE Graduate Student

 

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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!

 
Our aircraft engineer, Kevin, relaxes on the way up to Resolute. We were extremely fortunate to have Kevin with us on our campaign. His experience and dedication made everything run smoothly.
Our aircraft engineer, Kevin, relaxes on the way up to Resolute. We were extremely fortunate to have Kevin with us on our campaign. His experience and dedication made everything run smoothly.
Franzi and Richard trying fit themselves into their bench seat with their survival suits on. It took us all a while to get accustomed to wearing these suits during the flights; they are quite bulky and made us all a bit clumsy!
Franzi and Richard trying fit themselves into their bench seat with their survival suits on. It took us all a while to get accustomed to wearing these suits during the flights; they are quite bulky and made us all a bit clumsy!

Laughs aboard Polar 6 (photo courtesy of Johannes Schneider)
Laughs aboard Polar 6 (photo courtesy of Johannes Schneider)
Christian has some fun with our mascot, Carusso (the super chicken). Christian and the other AWI engineers (Lucas and Jens) provided great support during our campaign. They kept the science aspects of
Christian has some fun with our mascot, Carusso (the super chicken). Christian and the other AWI engineers (Lucas and Jens) provided great support during our campaign. They kept the science aspects of

A rainbow around our shadow above a thin cloud
A rainbow around our shadow above a thin cloud

-Megan Willis, NETCARE Graduate Student

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Kugluktuk Demobilization

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.

The N2 Generator dangling over the Arctic Ocean. We had to take this approach for all the Murphy equipment since it had to be packed up and stored at the back of the ship before the end of Leg 1.
The N2 Generator dangling over the Arctic Ocean. We had to take this approach for all the Murphy equipment since it had to be packed up and stored at the back of the ship before the end of Leg 1.
The helictoper used these giant nets to carry luggage between the ship and the airport in Kugluktuk.
The helictoper used these giant nets to carry luggage between the ship and the airport in Kugluktuk.

Greg wearing a stylish immersion suit, required for any personnel aboard the helicopter.
Greg wearing a stylish immersion suit, required for any personnel aboard the helicopter.
View of Kugluktuk, our first contact with civilization since the start of Leg 1B.
View of Kugluktuk, our first contact with civilization since the start of Leg 1B.

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

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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

 

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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!

The Amundsen from the POLAR6
The Amundsen from the POLAR6
Polar bears in view of the POLAR6
Polar bears in view of the POLAR6

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!

 
-Julia Burkart, NETCARE Post-doc
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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.

Haze over Northern Ontario
Haze over Northern Ontario
Haze layers
Haze layers

AMS deintegration : careful unloading of the SP-AMS from the POLAR6
AMS deintegration : careful unloading of the SP-AMS from the POLAR6

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!

 
-Megan Willis, NETCARE Graduate Student
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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

All flightpaths of the POLAR6 campaign in 2014.
All flightpaths of the POLAR6 campaign in 2014.
A final picture in Resolute with the POLAR6
A final picture in Resolute with the POLAR6

The first and second reports of the flight campaign can now be downloaded here:

Download
POLAR6 Report 1 (July 2014).pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 2.8 MB
Download
POLAR6 Report 2 (July 2014).pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 5.1 MB

-Bob Christensen, NETCARE Project Manager

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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

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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

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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

 

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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

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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

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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.   

 
Photo by Franziska Koellner (U.Mainz) of the Amundsen taken from the POLAR6
Photo by Franziska Koellner (U.Mainz) of the Amundsen taken from the POLAR6
Photos by Captain Kevin Elke, Borek Air
Photos by Captain Kevin Elke, Borek Air

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

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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

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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. 

View of glaciers on Devon Island from 200 ft
View of glaciers on Devon Island from 200 ft
Devon Island Ice Cap
Devon Island Ice Cap

Franzi (UofMainz) and Richard (EC) aboard Polar6
Franzi (UofMainz) and Richard (EC) aboard Polar6
Heiko (UofMainz) and Julia (UofT) aboard Polar6
Heiko (UofMainz) and Julia (UofT) aboard Polar6

July 13th flight track
July 13th flight track

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

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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

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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.   

Map of the area for flights around Resolute
Map of the area for flights around Resolute
Flight Profile from July 7th 2014
Flight Profile from July 7th 2014

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

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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

John (Kenn Borek Air), Kevin (Kenn Borek Air), and Christian (AWI)
John (Kenn Borek Air), Kevin (Kenn Borek Air), and Christian (AWI)
Megan and Jon (University of Toronto)
Megan and Jon (University of Toronto)

Courtesy of Environment Canada
Courtesy of Environment Canada



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

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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.

 

http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674scientists_studying_tiny_cloud-forming_particles_in_nunavut_air/

 

Enjoy!

 

-Bob Christensen, NETCARE Project Manager

 

 

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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

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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.

A map of the region around Resolute
A map of the region around Resolute
Real-time status of sea ice  (obtained from: http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr2/)
Real-time status of sea ice (obtained from: http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr2/)

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

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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 POLAR6 ferry flight arrives in Resolute on July 03
The POLAR6 ferry flight arrives in Resolute on July 03
The POLAR6, infront of the KBAL hangar, returns from its second research flight
The POLAR6, infront of the KBAL hangar, returns from its second research flight

Photo of the NETCARE-POLAR6 participants on July 6th
Photo of the NETCARE-POLAR6 participants on July 6th

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

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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).

 

A Fata Morgana mirage captured by Amir A. Aliabadi in Resolute
A Fata Morgana mirage captured by Amir A. Aliabadi in Resolute

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.

 
Environment Canada air quality monitoring station in Resolute
Environment Canada air quality monitoring station in Resolute

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

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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.

Stops along the ferry flight to Resolute
Stops along the ferry flight to Resolute

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.

View of the water in Churchill, MB. We went walking around town, despite the clouds of mosquitoes that seemed to follow us where ever we went
View of the water in Churchill, MB. We went walking around town, despite the clouds of mosquitoes that seemed to follow us where ever we went

Views from Polar6 flying north of Gjoa Haven
Views from Polar6 flying north of Gjoa Haven

View of the sea-ice edge near Resolute
View of the sea-ice edge near Resolute
POLAR6 in Resolute
POLAR6 in Resolute

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

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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

 

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Amundsen - A hot day at work in Quebec City

Instruments include an APS (aerodynmic particle sizer, a MOUDI (micro orifice uniform deposit impactor), and a SSI (single stage impactor)
Instruments include an APS (aerodynmic particle sizer, a MOUDI (micro orifice uniform deposit impactor), and a SSI (single stage impactor)

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

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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.  

Map of locations courtesy of Google Earth
Map of locations courtesy of Google Earth
South of Iqaluit
South of Iqaluit
Central Iqaluit
Central Iqaluit

On the ground at Arctic Bay
On the ground at Arctic Bay
Leaving Arctic Bay
Leaving 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

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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).

Jon Liggio from EC and a view looking back from the bridge
Jon Liggio from EC and a view looking back from the bridge
NETCARE equipment on board ready to be moved for deployment.
NETCARE equipment on board ready to be moved for deployment.

Allan Bertram’s equipment being lifted by a crane to the upper levels of the ship
Allan Bertram’s equipment being lifted by a crane to the upper levels of the ship
A view of old Quebec from the Amundsen.
A view of old Quebec from the Amundsen.

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

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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.

After a long day, Greg Wentworth and Jen Murphy successfully set up most of the on-line ion chromatography system
After a long day, Greg Wentworth and Jen Murphy successfully set up most of the on-line ion chromatography system
After a long day, Greg Wentworth and Jen Murphy successfully set up most of the on-line ion chromatography system
After a long day, Greg Wentworth and Jen Murphy successfully set up most of the on-line ion chromatography system

Greg enjoying the fresh air and a good view after a long day inside
Greg enjoying the fresh air and a good view after a long day inside

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

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POLAR6 - Test flight success

In the late afternoon on Thursday, we had our test flight on the Polar6. Six operators were on the flight; Richard (EC), Julia (U of T), Heiko (U of Mainz), Jens (AWI), Megan (U of T) and Franzi (U of Mainz). We were all glad to meet our pilots for the campaign – Kevin and John – from Kenn Borek Air. First, the Polar6 had to be carefully moved out of the hangar using a tractor. After re-fueling we flew west from Muskoka airport to Georgian Bay, where we did our tests.

The Polar6 outside the hangar at Muskoka Airport
The Polar6 outside the hangar at Muskoka Airport
Franzi (U of Mainz) all ready for the test flight with her instrument at the back of the Polar 6
Franzi (U of Mainz) all ready for the test flight with her instrument at the back of the Polar 6

Megan and Franzi with their mass spectrometers during the test flight
Megan and Franzi with their mass spectrometers during the test flight
Jens (AWI), Heiko (U of Mainz), and Julia (U of T) working with their instruments during the flight
Jens (AWI), Heiko (U of Mainz), and Julia (U of T) working with their instruments during the flight

Views of Georgian Bay
Views of Georgian Bay

Along with checking the function of all our instruments at various altitudes we did some bank turns and yaws, which were quite a rollercoaster ride! Overall, the test flight went well for all of us. Currently we are addressing any final problems and loading the aircraft with cargo to go up to Resolute Bay. Julia and I will leave on Monday morning, June 30th, with the Polar6 for the ferry flight.

 

- Megan Willis, NETCARE Graduate Student

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Amundsen - Loading underway

The first day of mobilization went much more smoothly than we were expecting. We got everything on board and even quite a few crates unpacked. 

Emma Mungall and Greg Wentworth first day of mobilization.
Emma Mungall and Greg Wentworth first day of mobilization.
Lifts ready to load equipment on board.
Lifts ready to load equipment on board.

Being able to speak French proved handy as we shouted directions to the Coast Guard employees getting our crates from the depot, onto the crane and onto the appropriate deck. The weather and Quebec City are both beautiful. Overall, it seems like we're off to a good start.

 

-Emma Mungall, NETCARE Graduate Student

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Amundsen - Mobilization day 1

The Amundsen and views from on board.
The Amundsen and views from on board.

NETCARE participants from all over Canada have started to gather today, June 26th, at 101 Champlain Boulevard in sunny Québec city. Mobilization of the CCGS Amundsen will take place over several days before its departure on July 8th.

 

-Martine Lizotte, NETCARE Research Associate

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POLAR6 - Preparation for the test flight

Right now at the Muskoka Airport final preparations are underway for the NETCARE POLAR6 aircraft campaign. A team of people from AWI, Environment Canada, UofT, U of Mainz are preparing instruments for the test flight, which is scheduled for this Thursday June 26th. The hanger at Muskoka airport is a busy place. Here is a look at what we have been up to.

The POLAR6 undergoing final preparations for the test flight
The POLAR6 undergoing final preparations for the test flight
Equipment ready to be loaded for testing
Equipment ready to be loaded for testing

Researchers from U.Mainz and AWI carefully load their instruments
Researchers from U.Mainz and AWI carefully load their instruments
Megan with the SP-AMS on board
Megan with the SP-AMS on board

More photos and updates will follow as further equipement tests are completed, and during the test flight on Thursday.

 

-Megan Willis, NETCARE Graduate Student

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Amundsen - Departing Quebec City

Today we left Quebec City, it was an emotional moment when the side of the boat wasn’t actually touching the port anymore ‘oh my god, this is it!’ ran through our heads, ‘We’re on a real Arctic expedition!’. A few people were waving the boat off at port and most of us were on the bridge, waving as we made our way. The city of Quebec is beautiful, we went past the Montmorency falls and along the Saint Lawrence River as it widened. 

 

I decided to turn the APS on but to no avail as I had not set it to continuously sample and so it took one ten minute sample and stopped, oh dear! I only realised this once I started sampling with the SSI and the APS readings had been the same for a while. I also realised that the smoke stack is going to be a BIG problem. I don’t know whether to make detailed observations all the time (and by all the time I mean, I need to know whether the smoke stack has moved every 5 minutes!) or to just only try to sample when I KNOW the conditions are good. Plan A means more work but probably more and better samples, plan B means less work…less samples…hmmm. What to do? 

 

-Vickie Irish, NETCARE Graduate Student

 
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Amundsen - Equipment on the move

All campaign equipment from the University of British Columbia, the University of Calgary and the University of Toronto has arrived in Quebec City. Final transport to the Canadian Coast Guard is scheduled for Monday June 23rd, where it will be held until Thursday June 26th - the first day of campaign mobilization.

 

-Bob Christensen, NETCARE Project Manager

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Amundsen - UofT equipment prep. underway

A large load of equipment leaves Dept of Chemistry at UofT heading to the Coast Guard base in Quebec City.  The equipment will then be loaded onto the CGCS Amundsen icebreaker during the start of ship mobilization, on June 26.

 

-Jon Abbatt, NETCARE Principle Investigator

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POLAR6 - UofT equipment shipped

The UofT SP-AMS instrument is shipped north to Muskoka Airport for loading on the POLAR6 aircraft.  Integration of the equipment onto the plane and Transport Canada certification is being performed at Lake Central Air Services in Muskoka.

 

-Jon Abbatt, NETCARE Principle Investigator

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POLAR6 and Amundsen safety training

All of the NETCARE scientists that will be aboard the Amundsen and POLAR6 this summer have now completed the required helicopter ditch training in Toronto, and in Nova Scotia with Survival Systems Limited. The course taught them to effectively react to an aircraft ditching emergency in a replicated aircraft cabin that is fully submerged upsidedown underwater. Well done everyone!

 

-Bob Christensen, NETCARE Project Manager

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