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INGV operates in the Arctic region with observational activities in Svalbard, near the area of Ny-Ålesund, where the Institute has installed three stations to monitor ionospheric scintillation, currently in operation. In Svalbard, the PEGASO (Polar Explorer for Geomagnetic And other Scientific Observations) project has performed several stratospheric balloon launches (Pathfinders) with the aim of studying the Earth's magnetic field in an area with poor coverage measurements and of studying the possible trajectories of circumpolar winds at high altitudes. At the Greenland Base of Thule, INGV in collaboration with CNR, DMI (Danish Meteorological Institute), University of Rome La Sapienza and ENEA, carries out spectrometric observations for the analysis of stratospheric chemistry and mesosphere to monitor the ozone layer. In cooperation with In addition, an upper atmosphere permanent observatory for magnetosphere and Ionosphere sounding, including Auroras, and other geophysical processes is operated in Greenland, Zackemberg station in cooperation with Danish scientists. INGV is currently involved in the coordination of two European initiatives: a) EMSO (European Multidisciplinary seafloor Observatory) a European research infrastructure of ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures), which counts to establish a multi-parametric permanent network in the surrounding European seas, including the Arctic area. The project began in April 2008 with the participation of 11 European countries; b) EUROANDRILL, created under the aegis of the European Science Foundation, aims to drill key areas of polar areas to study past and future climate. The project involves the involvement of 10 European and 3 extra-European countries. The Institute is also active in other projects in the Arctic, in particular actively participates in the seismic network GLISN, developed from the existing stations in and around Greenland.
OGS conducts scientific activities within the fields of Earth Sciences and Polar Science in the Arctic, primarily but not exclusively, in the sea with the vessel OGS-Explora. Current OGS activities in the Arctic include a) Pergamon, EU COST Action: European network for study and long-term monitoring of permafrost, gas hydrates and release of methane in the Arctic and climate change impacts; b) IBCAO (International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean) to develop a digital bathymetric database to the north of 64°. OGS is the Editorial Board and provides multibeam data; c) Research activities in the frame of PNRA (Italian Antarctic and Arctic National Research Programme) through several projects devoted to paleoceanographic study of the thermohaline circulation on the Eirik Drift (Greenland and study of paleoclimate in the Barents Sea using geological and geophysical data from the International Polar Year EGLACOM cruise of OGS Explora. CORIBAR international project (IT, DE, ES, N, DK) will provided in the next 1-2 years new data for the last item, through MEBO drilling on board RV Maria S. Merian.
Within the Unit for Environment and Energy Modeling (UTMEA), the Laboratory Earth Observations and Analyses within UTMEA (UTMEA-TER) carries out long-term observations of stratospheric chemistry and mesosphere in Greenland, Thule station. Stratospheric processes (evolution in atmospheric temperature, ozone depletion) and chemistry are monitored and investigated by stratospheric lidar as well as spectrometers, in strong cooperation with INGV and DMI. Since 1990 numerous measurement campaigns have been carried out, also on the international level (EASOE, SESAME, THESEO, ESMOS/Arctic. ENEA’s Diagnostics and Metrology Laboratory (UTAPRAD-DIM) has been participating in polar campaigns since the late 1990's. In particular, it has developed the laser spectrofluorimeter CASPER (patented) and prototypes of different lidar fluorosensor: for ships, underwater remotely operated vehicles and patented miniature Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. These instruments participated in 3 oceanographic cruises (2006, 2007 and 2008) at Svalbard, on board of the "Oceania" in the context of a collaboration with the Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Their use is also envisaged under the Italian-Canadian CLIMAT (complementary use of lidar to improve bio-optical models derived from satellite system in the St. Lawrence).
Italy’s leading national research institution, the CNR has been supporting research activity at Ny-Ålesund since 1997, when the scientific station “Dirigibile Italia” was acquired. This infrastructure supports Arctic research conducted by the national research community. In 2008, it was improved through the construction of the Amundsen-Nobile Climate Change Tower and the actikvity largely enlarged with the Climate Change Tower Integrated Project (CCT-IP - www.isac.cnr.it/~radiclim/CCTower). Scientific cooperation, particularly focused on atmospheric science including pollutants distribution and ozone studies, on oceanography and on marine biology and biodiversity was developed by CNR scientists in particular with NPI and AWI; CNR is coordinating actions (EU-GMOS project) to improve and implement the observational system related to mercury. CNR is also involved in the SIOS preparatory phase project, and in Italy it is engaged to coordinate interested Italian expertises in a common scientific plan and actively promote Italian participation to SIOS final multidisciplinary platform. In the years to come, CNR intends to promote the improvement of research activity and to reinforce international cooperation of the Italian research groups, and to provide a significant contribution to the observational system in the Arctic, following the lines recommended by SAON. Together with the improvement/development of a supersite at Ny-Ålesund and large contribution to SIOS, CNR will operate to contribute/sustain thematic networks (Polar-AOD for aerosol and GMOS for mercury leading from CNR).
The effects of biofilm settlement on corrosion resistance of stainless steels in polar seawaters are not well known. In warmer conditions (Mediterranean sea) biofilm increases both the risk of localised corrosion onset and the propagation rate of corrosion attack. Corrosion tests carried out in Antarctica demonstrated that biofilm growth at about 0°C induced electrochemical effects less important than those occurring in warmer conditions. On the contrary, corrosion tests performed in similar environmental conditions at Ny-Aalesund (Svalbard) showed more severe corrosion attack than in Antarctica. This research aims: - to define the influence of biofilm on stainless steel corrosion resistance in polar seawater in the range of temperature between -1 and +5 °C, - to define if change in salinity can influence corrosion process, - to identify stainless steel grades which can be acceptable in such conditions (polar seawater seems to be somewhat less corrosive, which gives the possibility to use cheaper stainless steels).
The aim of this project is to study the physical oceanography of the sea in the area where Kongsbreen glacier get in touch with the sea in the inner part of Kongsfjord. In particular the project aims: to characterise temperature and salinity of water masses in the inner part of Kongsfjord close to Kongsbreen Glacier to characterise major fresh water outflow from Kongsbreen glaciers to the sea in the inner part of the fiord to collect time series if seawater currents in-out from the inner part, temperature and salinity patterns for one year from summer 2001 to summer 2002. to collect a one year time series of sea level changes by an automatic self recording depth gauges deployed close to the base.
The aims of the project are: - to evaluate the fluxes of radionuclides in the water column and their accumulation in the sediment, on a short-time scale; - to determine the C/N and delta13C-delta15N ratios in suspended and sedimentary matter, and test their use as tracers of origin, composition and transformation pathways of organic particles. The selected study area is the Kongsfjord-Krossfjord system, Svalbard, considered as representative test-site for studying processes occurring in Arctic fjords. The focus of the project will be on the processes occurring at the glacier-sea interface, where enhanced lithogenic and biogenic particle fluxes are reported in summer. Specific methods will be used to trace the particle sources. The rate of accumulation-resuspension processes will also be investigated from the inner fjord to the outer continental shelf.
The general objective of this research concerns the quantitative and qualitative study of particulate matter retained in natural (sea-ice and sediment) and artificial (sediment traps) traps in order to determine the main origin (autochtonous and allochtonous) and the relative importance of different fractions of particulate matter and to follow their fate in the environment. To quantify the autochtonous origin of particulate matter, primary production, nutrient uptake, biomass distribution, phytoplankton community structure and fluxes in the first levels of the trophic chain will be investigated. Studies will be conducted in the sea-ice environment and in the water column and compared to the particle fluxes measured both in the water, using sediment traps and in the sediment, by radiometric chronology, in order to estimate the different contribution of these habitats to carbon export to the bottom. The zooplankton will be identified and counted and primary production, nutrient uptake and phytoplankton dynamics will be related to hydrological structure and nutrient availability in the environment. The Kongsfjord results particularly suitable for the main objective of this research as it is influenced by important inputs of both atmospheric (eolic and meteroric) and glacial origin and is characterised by a complex hydrological situation which may promote autochtonous productive processes, thus determining important particulate fluxes.