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Our broad area of enquiry is the role of polar regions in the global energy and water cycles, and the atmospheric, oceanic and sea ice processes that determine that role. The primary importance of our investigation is to show how these polar processes relate to global climate.
Our central geophysical objective is to determine how sea ice and the polar oceans respond to and influence the large-scale circulation of the atmosphere. Our primary technical objective is to determine how best to incorporate satellite measurements in an ice/ocean model.
To understand and model the processes by which Arctic deep water is formed on continental shelves by the modification of inflowing Atlantic and Pacific waters.
To develop the next-generation Navy operational ice thickness and movement model.
The Program for Arctic Regional Climate Assessment (PARCA) was formally initiated in 1995 by combining into one coordinated program various investigations associated with efforts, started in 1991, to assess whether airborne laser altimetry could be applied to measure ice-sheet thickness changes. It has the prime goal of measuring and understanding the mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet, with a view to assessing its present and possible future impact on sea level. It includes: · Airborne laser-altimetry surveys along precise repeat tracks across all major ice drainage basins, in order to measure changes in ice-surface elevation. · Ice thickness measurements along the same flight lines. · Shallow ice cores at many locations to infer snow-accumulation rates and their spatial and interannual variability, recent climate history, and atmospheric chemistry. · Estimating snow-accumulation rates from atmospheric model diagnosis of precipitation rates from winds and moisture amounts given by European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) operational analyses. · Surface-based measurements of ice motion at 30-km intervals approximately along the 2000-m contour completely around the ice sheet, in order to calculate total ice discharge for comparison with total snow accumulation, and thus to infer the mass balance of most of the ice sheet. · Local measurements of ice thickness changes in shallow drill holes ("dh/dt" sites in Figure 1). · Investigations of individual glaciers and ice streams responsible for much of the outflow from the ice sheet. · Monitoring of surface characteristics of the ice sheet using satellite radar altimetry, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), passive-microwave, scatterometer and visible and infrared data. · Investigations of surface energy balance and factors affecting snow accumulation and surface ablation. · Continuous monitoring of crustal motion using global positioning system (GPS) receivers at coastal sites.
To derive sea ice motion and estimate ice thickness using RADARSAT SAR imagery.
In September 1997, the CCGS Des Groseillers was frozen into the permanent ice-pack and started a year-long science program drifting across the southern Canada Basin. This program provided a unique opportunity to carry out a "vertical" food-chain study in a seasonal context to learn how the physical and biological systems couple to produce contaminant entry into the food web (Figure 1). "Vertical" components included the water and ice, particles, algae, zooplankton (sorted by trophic level), fish and seal.. The interpretation of contaminant data collected during SHEBA will provide information about the relationship between seasonal ice formation and melt, seasonal atmospheric transport and water column organochlorine concentrations in the Canada Basin. In addition our contaminant sampling program was integrated within a larger science plan where other SHEBA researchers studied the physical and biological properties of the water column. This means that contaminant distributions can be interpreted and modeled within the full context of physical, chemical and biological processes, and of atmospheric and oceanic transport mechanisms.
The objectives of this project are: A) to determine the pathway for the transfer of mercury in snowmelt to sea water during the melt period at Alert; B) to determine the extent of open water and wet ice in the summer Arctic as it affects the surface exchange of Hg using satellite radar imagery; and C) to determine the atmospheric dynamics associated with the photochemistry of mercury episodically during the polar sunrise period.