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Multidisciplinary investigations at the LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research) observatory HAUSGARTEN are carried out at a total of 21 permanent sampling sites in water depths ranging between 250 and 5,500 m. From the outset, repeated sampling in the water column and at the deep seafloor during regular expeditions in summer months was complemented by continuous year-round sampling and sensing using autonomous instruments in anchored devices (i.e., moorings and free-falling systems). The central HAUSGARTEN station at 2,500 m water depth in the eastern Fram Strait serves as an experimental area for unique biological in situ experiments at the seafloor, simulating various scenarios in changing environmental settings. Time-series studies at the HAUSGARTEN observatory, covering almost all compartments of the marine ecosystem, provide insights into processes and dynamics within an arctic marine ecosystem and act as a baseline for further investigations of ongoing changes in the Fram Strait. Long-term observations at HAUSGARTEN will significantly contribute to the global community’s efforts to understand variations in ecosystem structure and functioning on seasonal to decadal time-scales in an overall warming Arctic and will allow for improved future predictions under different climate scenarios.
During the spring/summer transition, sea ice and snow properties change considerably in response to warming and the eventual reversal of temperature gradients within the snow and ice. Snow melt water percolates down towards the colder snow/ice interface, where it refreezes to form superimposed ice. On sea ice this process occurs probably longer and more intensive than on land, because throughout the summer the ice and underlying seawater is always colder than the snow. In Antarctica superimposed ice may actually form layers of some decimeters in thickness. The objective of this study is to investigate the main processes and boundary conditions for superimposed ice formation, in recognition of its importance for Antarctic sea ice, and its possible importance for Arctic sea ice in case of environmental changes due to future climate change. This will be performed by means of modeling as well as by combined measurements of the temporal evolution of snow and ice properties and the energy budget.