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Anthropogenic 129I discharged from European reprocessing plants has widely dispersed in the Nordic waters including the Arctic. Due to the high solubility and long residence time of iodine in seawater, anthropogenic 129I has become an ideal oceanographic tracer for investigating transport pathways and the exchange of water masses.
The project, Arctic and Alpine Stream Ecosystem Research (AASER), started within EU’s Climate & Environment Programme and now continues with national funding, primarily Norway, Italy and Austria. The objective is to study dynamics and processes in rivers systems in Arctic and Alpine regions. Emphasis is given to the relationships between benthic invertebrates and environmental variables, especially in glacier-fed systems and in relation to climate change scenarios. On Svalbard research is concentrated around Ny Ålesund, particularly Bayelva and Londonelva. In 2004 the focus will be on the use to stable isotopes to detect transfer processes within and between ecosystems.
The IPY-project ‘COPOL’ has a main objective of understanding the dynamic range of man-made contaminants in marine ecosystems of polar regions, in order to better predict how possible future climate change will be reflected in levels and effects at higher trophic levels. This aim will be addressed by 4 integrated work packages covering the scopes of 1) food web contaminant exposure and flux, 2) transfer to higher trophic levels and potential effects, 3) chemical analyses and screening, 4) synthesis and integration. To study the relations between climate and environmental contaminants within a project period of four years, a “location-substitutes-time”-approach will be employed. The sampling is focussed towards specific areas in the Arctic, representing different climatic conditions. Two areas that are influenced differently by different water masses are chosen; the Kongsfjord on the West-coast of Spitzbergen (79N, 12 E) and the Rijpfjord North-East of Svalbard (80N, 22 E). The main effort is concentrated in the Kongsfjord. This fjord has been identified as particularly suitable as a study site of contaminants processes, due to the remoteness of sources, and for influences of climatic changes, due to the documented relation between Atlantic water influx and the climatic index North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The water masses of the Rijpfjord have Arctic origin and serves as a strictly Arctic reference. Variable Atlantic water influx will not only influence abiotic contaminant exposure, but also food web structure, food quality and energy pathways, as different water masses carry different phyto- and zooplankton assemblages. This may affect the flux of contaminants through the food web to high trophic level predators such as seabirds and seals, due to altered food quality and energy pathways.
Englacial draining on Kongsvegen
The project EPOPEE is embedded in the international project ASTAR to study direct and indirect climate effects of aerosols and clouds in the Arctic. The particular goals of the project EPOPEE are to experimentally characterize the ice phase in Arctic clouds (including the ice phase) in situ, to study the aerosol-cloud as well as cloud-radiation interactions, and to develop adequate methods to validate remote sensing cloud parameters. In 2004 the project EPOPEE is mainly organized around in situ observations of detailed microphysical and optical cloud properties onboard the Polar-2 aircraft during the transition from polluted Arctic haze (observed especially in late winter, early spring months) to clean summer aerosol conditions. The transition from Arctic haze to clean summer conditions is quite sharp (a large amount of aerosols coming from Eurasian industrial areas accumulate over the Arctic and cover the Arctic by a layer of a smog-like haze of the size of the continent of Africa) due to a radical change in atmospheric transport patterns and is, thus, easy to identify. During Arctic summer, the high latitudes are then more or less “protected” from long-range transport of air masses from lower latitudes. The principal scientific objective of the project EPOPEE in 2004 will focus on studying the aerosol-cloud interactions with particular attention given to the ice phase nucleation in Arctic mixed-phase clouds. The interpretation of the instrumental observations will broadly benefit from a very close cooperation with the LaMP modelling group for theoretically coupling small-scale processes (cloud particle nucleation) with meso-scale dynamics. Furthermore, the project will focus on cloud-radiation interaction and the development of adequate methods to validate cloud parameters retrieved from remote sensing techniques. Therein, we will experimentally answer the question of how the different ice crystal shapes govern the scattering phase function of respective crystals. Moreover, the in situ cloud measurements will allow to develop an adequate strategy for the interpretation of remote sensing data from a depolarisation Lidar onboard the same aircraft (Polar-2).
Mapping and monitoring of the snow cover with use of satellitte born optical instruments for (1) direct use of observations of climate change and (2) use of observations in climate modelling. Measurements of the snows spectral reflectance and other physical properties.
The aim is a better understanding of the impact of contemporary climatic change (posterior to Little Ice Age) on plant dynamics and the morphodynamic processes active at the glacial margins in polar environments. The selected research field is constituted of the Brøgger Peninsula, where erosion assessments will be evaluated for various processes (frost weathering, runoff, biological weathering, …).
Waves play a major role for the momentum and energy transport in the middle atmosphere [Fritts and van Zandt, 1993] by modifying the local temperature field as well as the general circulation when the waves reach the saturation level and break [Holton, 1983; Fritts, 1984]. The MACWAVE rocket campaign is investigating the wave field in polar latitudes during summer and winter. To learn more about the horizontal structure of the wave field, it is important to measure at more than one station. For the monitoring of the vertical transport by the waves, measurements over a large height range are necessary. The combination of lidars, radiosondes and falling spheres will cover the region from the ground up to approximately 105 km. When comparing data, it is important to take into account the different measurement principles and integration times. The rocket will show small scale variations whereas the lidar permits a continuous monitoring of the temperature and wave situation
Study of the energy exchange between atmosphere, sea ice and ocean during freezing and melting conditions; within that, measurements of solar radiation (visible and UV) and optical properties, snow and sea ice characteristics, vertical heat and salt fluxes, oceanographic parameters.
As a result of the increasing atmospheric CO2 levels and other greenhose gases due to anthropogenic activities, global and water temperature is rising. The objectives of our project might be summarized as follows: I. To measure the activity of the enzymatic systems involved in carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus uptake (carbonic anhydrase, nitrate reductase and alkaline phosphatase) in selected macroalgae. To assess the optimal concentration of inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus for growth and photosynthesis. To study the total concentration of carbon and nitrogen metabolites in the macroalgae (proteins, total carbohydrates, and lipids) in order to define the possible existence of nutrient limitation. II. To simulate the conditions of climate change, represented as CO2 enrichment and increasing UV radiation, on the activity of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus uptake mechanisms. III. To screen the activity of the enzymatic systems previously detailed in macroalgae from the Konjsfjord, in order to know their nutritional state.
Biological nitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria is a key process for productivity in terrestrial Arctic ecosystems and the activity is dependent of size and diversity of cyanobacterial populations. Changes in biodiversity after pertubations of different types of habitats simulating climatic changes or other antropogenic effects will be studied by molecular methods and correlated to variations of nitrogen fixation activity.
Monitoring of the active layer near Ny Ålesund as part of the international monitoring scheme CALM (Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring)
The structure and role of the cyanobacterial communities that colonise bare soils and fix nitrogen in the arctic ecosystem will be studied. The planned activities will focus on the isolation, identification and characterisation of cyanobacteria from arctic habitats and on the changes of the cyanobacterial community along a transect from a retreating glacier front to a more stable habitat characterised by the presence of mature vegetation. For these purposes, a polyphasic approach encompassing microbiological, morphological and molecular techniques will be applied to environmental samples and isolated cultures. The obtained results will give new insights on the diversity and role of nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria in the arctic and, in more general terms, on ecosystem development under changing climatic conditions.
The objectives of this project is to study the effect of environmental stochasticity on the Svalbard reindeer population dynamics, nad further evaluate how this may affect reindeer-plant interactions.
Mass balance measurements with use of snow-radar on glaciers and snow i the Ny-Ålesund area.
Large-scale changes in surface ocean chemical equilibira and elemental cycling have occurred in the fremework of "global change" and are expected to continue and intensify in the future. The progressive increase in atmospheric CO2 affects the marinebiospehere in varous ways: indeirectly, for instance, through rising mean global temperatures causing incereased surface ocean stratification and hence mixed layer insulation, and directly through changes in seawater carbonate chemistry. In lab experimetns we recently observed that CO2-related changes in seawater carbonate chemistry strongly affect calcification of marine coccolithophorids. A rise in atmospheric CO2 may slow down biogenic calcification in the surface ocean with likeley effects on the vertical transport of calcium carbonate to the deep sea. The lab findings will be tested with natural phytoplankton in semi-controlled conditions in a series of floating mesocosms.
Permanent monitoring of basic climate data for the purpose of better understanding the Arctic climate processes and detecting trends.
Population monitoring of Gyrfalcon, Golden Eagle, Willow Grouse and Passerine birds
In 1990, the Directorate for Nature Management (DN) established an area for integrated monitoring within Børgefjell National Park, Røyrvik, N Trøndelag. Studies of vegetation-environment relationships in the area was performed by NINA. The area includes both subalpine birch forest and low alpine heath. The new established vegetation investigation included all together 80 different species. This material was processed numerically by using multivariate methods. Indirect gradient analyses were performed using Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) and Local Nonmetric Multidimentional Scaling (LNMDS). Direct gradient analyses were performed by using rescaled hybrid Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA). Non-parametric correlation analyses, Kendall’s , were performed between environmental parameters and DCA axis values. The results of the numerical and statistical processing were used partly to provide a description of the vegetational structure in the material and partly to quantify how much each ecological parameters contributed to determination of vegetational structure. This work shows the species distribution along various complex gradients; moisture, nutrient conditions, light etc. The investigation is primarily designed to study vegetation dynamics along these gradients and whether changes in the number of species can be related to changes in physical, biotic and, not least, chemical parameters. Variance analysis was performed to assess to what extent the sample plots tends move in a determined direction from 1990 to 1995. The variation between the years were not significant along the primary complex gradients, but there were a significant displacement of species along the following gradients. The most important species were: Vaccinium vitis-idaea, Melampyrum sylvaticum and Hylocomium splendens), which showed an increase and some cryptogams like Brachythecium reflexum, B. salebrosum and Cladonia ecmocyna which declined.
In 1993, the Directorate for Nature Management (DN) established a new area for the monitoring of terrestrial ecosystems in Dividalen National Park in Troms County. This report presents the reanalysis of vegetation and soil from this terrestrial monitoring area. The area in Dividalen is located in the northern boreal birch forest, in a relatively continental section where the dominant type of vegetation is bilberry-mountain crowberry birch forest (A4c). The structure of the vegetation is analysed by multivariate methods (ordination). In Dividalen all together 131 species were found; 75 vascular plants, 18 mosses, 14 liverworts and 24 lichens. This is a decrease from the number of species recorded in 1993 when 141 species were found in the same mesoplots: 74 vascular plants, 24 mosses, 18 liverworts and 25 lichens. The decrease was not significant for the total number of species or for the total number of vascular plants. However the total number of cryptogames showed a slight significant decrease in number between 1993 and 1998. This may be due to increased cover of several ericoid species. In Dividalen we found no significant changes in vegetation composition for the periode 1993 – 1998 along the first four ordination axes. However, there were changes in mesoplots with high DCA1 values. The changes were in the direction towards lower species richness. Species like Myosotis decumbens, Poa alpina, Solidago virgaurea, Cerastium fontanum and Rumex acetosa ssp. lapponicus showed the largest decrease in these mesoplots. Species that showed the largest increase were Vaccinium vitis-idaea, Mnium spinosum and Polytrichum juniperinum. We have found no relations between these changes and acidification due to deposition of pollutans. Lack of disturbance factors in the area in the last years, which favours an increase in ericoid vegetation, is the probable explanation for the changes.