Polarstern expedition ARK-XXIII/1
Bremerhaven - Longyearbyen
12 June 2008 - 2 July 2008
Chief scientist: Dr. Gereon Budéus
The first leg of the 23rd "Polarstern" expedition to the Arctic starts on 12 June 2008. The ship will be heading directly to the east Greenland coast and enter ice-covered waters between Jan Mayen and the Greenland coast. Geodatic work on Greenland will be the first research activities. GPS receivers will be installed on land with the use of helicopters. The receivers determine the vertical movement of the land masses which are caused by the decreasing ice load. The instruments need a measuring period of some weeks and will be recovered during the next cruise leg.
After the geodetic work a hydrographic transect across the Greenland gyre will be performed. This transect extends from the Greenland coast to Bear Island. It is interrupted by the exchange of autonomously profiling deep sea moorings and a shallow water profiling mooring which is specifically designed to assess the fresh water introduction into the gyre.
While the hydrographic investigations use water from the full ocean depth, proxy validation studies by sampling of foraminifera and coccolithophores use the ship's sea water supply to gain on track samples across the main frontal system.
Moreover, observations concerning the distribution of higher trophic levels (seabirds and marine mammals) will be carried out along the ship's entire pathway. The distribution of these animals is also dependent on climatic changes, in particular with respect to the changing size of ice covered areas. The distribution of certain whale species in the North Atlantic has already shown a marked modification which results from the reduced ice cover in the Arctic.
Teacher will be aboard Polarstern
Gaining insights into the global climate system is not the only objective of the International Polar Year. Involving the public, specifically the young generation, in ongoing research and provision of extensive information are central goals. For this reason, the teacher Henning Pulz will be aboard Polarstern. He will be actively involved in the expedition research, allowing him to communicate his insights via internet to his students.