NETCARE Research Blog 2016

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. 

Working on the skimmer from the side of the zodiac, with the Amundsen in the background.
Working on the skimmer from the side of the zodiac, with the Amundsen in the background.



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.

NETCARE HQP Vickie Irish, Alex Moravek, and Matt Boyer deploying the skimmer with the help of the Canadian Coast Guard.
NETCARE HQP Vickie Irish, Alex Moravek, and Matt Boyer deploying the skimmer with the help of the Canadian Coast Guard.


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.


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

cloud formation. 



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.



Route for the Amundsen 2016
Route for the Amundsen 2016





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).

Richard Leitch (left), Rashed Mahmood (centre), Rachel Chang (right)
Richard Leitch (left), Rashed Mahmood (centre), Rachel Chang (right)

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