ArcticNet theme 1: Intergrated Regional Impact Study of the Coastal Western Canadian Arctic
Principal Investigator: Fortier, Martin (8)
Licence Number: 14202
Organization: ArcticNet
Licenced Year(s): 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2007 2006 2005 2004
Issued: Jul 22, 2007
Project Team: Luc Michaud (Ship equipment manager, Laval University), Keith Levesque (Ship-based research coordinator, ArcticNet), Jean-Eric Tremblay (Chief Scientist, Laval University), Johannie Martin (Graduate student, Laval University), Jonathan Gagnon (Technician, Laval University), Allison Machutchon (Technician, DFO), Joanne Delaronde (Technician, DFO), Igor Lenherr (Graduate student, University of Alberta), Sudeshna Pabi (Graduate student, Stanford University), Alexandre Forest (Graduate student, Laval University), Jacques A. Gagné (Research scientist, DFO), Michel Poulin (Research scientist, Canadian Museum of Nature), Bruno Tremblay (Research scientist, McGill University), 27 other names of scientists to come (List to be finalized, Will be forwarded to ARI when final)

Objective(s): The central objective of this project is to maintain long-term marine observatories to study the variability and changes in ocean currents, temperature, salinity, and carbon/contaminant fluxes in the coastal Arctic Ocean in response to climate warming.

Project Description: The central objective of this project is to maintain long-term marine observatories to study the variability and changes in ocean currents, temperature, salinity, and carbon/contaminant fluxes in the coastal Arctic Ocean in response to climate warming.

The CCGS Amundsen is scheduled to enter the Inuvialuit Settlement Region around October 13, 2007, after a scheduled crew change in Kugluktuk on October 12. Mooring operations and ship based sampling in the Amundsen Gulf/Mackenzie Shelf area will take place between October 13 and 18.

Field work for this project started in the fall of 2004 when eight (8) moorings were deployed in the Mackenzie Shelf/Amundsen Gulf area following the Canadian Arctic Shelf Exchange Study (CASES) over-wintering expedition. Three (3) of these moorings were redeployed during the October 2006 ArcticNet expedition to the area. Moorings consist of current meters, temperature-salinity recorders and sediment traps that are moored along a line anchored to the bottom. Some moorings are also equipped with autonomous hydrophones to record the acoustic background and the vocalizations of marine mammals. A subsurface float maintains the line vertical in the water. All floats and instruments are deeper than 30 m.

One of the main objectives of the 2007 expedition to the area is to recover and redeploy the three (3) moorings deployed in 2006. As part of ArcticNet, the researchers intend to redeploy these three moorings at the same location for at least 7 years (and possibly up to 14 years). This continuity in location is part of their plan to establish long term marine observatories to monitor the response of the coastal Arctic Ocean to climate warming. Two additional moorings will also be deployed for a one period as part of a joint monitoring effort between ArcticNet and the Canadian IPY funded Circumpolar Flaw Lead (CFL) system study.

Before redeploying the moorings for another year, compasses of all current meters need to be calibrated on land and in relative proximity of the mooring sites. Hence, two sites are proposed for calibrating the compasses; Nelson Head on Banks Island and near Sachs Harbour on Banks Island. These sites would be accessed with the helicopter of the CCGS Amundsen. Flights would mostly be over water and when near land, would comply with flying regulations and avoid any disturbance to wildlife. The designated calibration sites would be no further than 5 miles inland and would be visited for a period of less than 12 hours. Once on site, the work to be done would consist in mounting the compasses of each current meter on a tripod and taking directional readings. Negative effects on the environment would be minimal; no camps would be erected and measures would be taken to prevent any new occurrences of pollution (i.e. no garbage would be left behind).

In addition to work conducted at the mooring stations, shipboard sampling will be carried out along the ship track and at specific sampling stations. Shipboard operations will include bottom mapping, meteorological measurements and the sampling of seawater, sediment, plankton, juvenile fish and sea ice. Scientists onboard will analyze samples covering almost all natural science fields, including geology, chemistry (e.g., contaminants), biology, oceanography and meteorology.
The ArcticNet 2007 expedition is scheduled to end on October 18 when the CCGS Amundsen is ceded to the Circumpolar Flaw Lead (CFL) system study (see the CFL licence application to ARI). Within the framework of the CFL project, the CCGS Amundsen is scheduled to over-winter in the Amundsen Gulf area.

In 2006, ArcticNet’s executive director, Martin Fortier, and researcher, David Barber, had the opportunity to present research results and discuss future fieldwork to be conducted in the Inuvialuit region during the annual Inuvialuit Game Council meeting. ArcticNet research results from previous years were also presented at the August 2006 Coastal Zone Canada workshop in Tuktoyaktuk. Numerous ArcticNet researchers and students attended this meeting and at least two sessions were led by ArcticNet researchers.

Every progress report and publication pertaining to research conducted in the region will be submitted to the Joint Secretariat, the Game Council, the Aurora Research Institute and the HTCs of all Inuvialuit communities. A compendium of ArcticNet research results (2004-2007) is due out in October 2007 and will be submitted to these organizations.

Moreover, a community visit is scheduled for Sachs Harbour where local residents will be invited aboard the CCGS Amundsen. This will be an opportunity for them to take a closer look at the work being done on the icebreaker. It will also be an excellent opportunity for researchers and residents to exchange views and knowledge on the changing Arctic environment. Similar visits have been conducted by the group in the past in Paulatuk and Holman.

Three of the five general objectives of ArcticNet are to: (1) involve northern communities and Inuit organizations as partners through bilateral exchange of knowledge, training and technology, (2) contribute to the training of the next generation of young Arctic specialists (including northern residents) and (3) contribute to the development and dissemination of the knowledge needed to formulate policies and strategies to adapt to change in the Arctic. Hence, it is ArcticNet’s mandate to involve the residents of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region at various levels of research and training. Oceanographic fieldwork in the ISR started in 2005 which generated various involvement opportunities for the residents and more opportunities are expected to arise throughout the duration of ArcticNet.

Fieldwork will be conducted from October 13 to 18, 2007 on the Mackenzie Shelf and Amundsen Gulf, Beaufort Sea.Sampling will be conducted solely on and around the icebreaker at designated stations along the ship track. There will be no land-based sampling.