Canadian Arctic Shelf Exchange Study (CASES)
Principal Investigator: Fortier, Louis (6)
Licence Number: 13540
Organization: UniversitÚ Laval
Licenced Year(s): 2004 2003 2002
Issued: Aug 21, 2003
Project Team: Martin For

Objective(s): The Canadian Arctic Shelf Exchange Study (CASES) aims to understand the biogeochemical and ecological consequences of sea ice variability on the Mackenzie Shelf (Beaufort Sea) and provide the knowledge needed to model the impacts of present and forecasted variation in Arctic ice cover, particularly in response to climate warming. CASES is a major international effort under Canadian leadership, bringing together leading experts in Arctic science from 10 Canadian universities, 4 federal departments, the Canadian Museum of Nature, and 9 foreign countries. The studies that make up the overall CASES project may be considered as 3 complementary subprojects: 1) atmosphere, sea-ice and coastal circulation, which aims to link the sea ice and meteorological conditions, hydrography and circulation to the generation and maintenance of the flaw lead and Cape Bathurst polynya, as well as to relate the physical conditions of the sea-ice and water column to the biological populations and vertical fluxes of carbon on the Shelf and in the polynya, and to investigate the processes relating under-ice primary production to landfast sea ice formation and ablation; 2) pelagic processes, which aims to quantify the response of the planktonic community to physical forcing processes over an annual cycle, under the landfast ice, in the flaw polynya, and at the edge of the Arctic ice pack; and 3) benthic processes, which aims to study the effects of sea ice variability on benthic communities, and to reconstruct the history of climate change in the Mackenzie Shelf-Amundsen Gulf area for the last ~7000 years. The 2003/2004 field operations will be conducted entirely at sea, on the new Canadian research icebreaker. A maximum of 46 scientists and 37 Coast Guard crew will be on the icebreaker at any time, with crew changes occurring every 42 days. During open water months, data collection will take place from the ship along predetermined sampling transects. A 7 m zodiac and a landing barge will also be deployed at some stations to sample around the icebreaker. Some ice reconnaissance sampling surveys will also be conducted with the onboard helicopter when the ship is at the ice edge. The ship will overwinter in the landfast ice of Franklin Bay. During this time, data collection will take place at this single site from the ship and in small ice tents located within 5 km of the ship.