Project Dashboard

Arctic driftwood as a proxy record of environmental change: a pilot study (148754)
Proposal Status: Conformity Determination Issued
Project Overview
Type of application: New
Proponent name: Julian Dowdeswell
Company: Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge
Start Date: 2018-09-09
End Date: 2018-09-16
Operation Type: Annual
Project Description:
Objectives: Arctic driftwood originating from large river systems in North America and Eurasia is carried by currents across the northern oceans and deposited on Arctic coastlines free of sea ice. The spatial and temporal transport and deposition history, and the tree-ring characteristics of the driftwood, represent an exceptional proxy record for environmental change over multiple spatio-temporal scales. The objectives of the proposed research are to collect and analyse driftwood from Arctic coastlines to reconstruct ocean current dynamics, changes in sea-ice extent and relative sea level over the last centuries to millennia. In addition, we expect to gain information on past climate during the life cycle of the tree itself through the analysis of growth-ring characteristics. The majority of driftwood samples collected to date are from East Greenland, Svalbard and northwest Iceland. Collecting and analysing driftwood from Arctic coastlines in Baffin Island and West Greenland will contribute substantially to our enhanced understanding of the ocean-transport and temperature history of the area. The OneOcean Expeditions cruise program for Baffin Island and West Greenland in 2018 provides an excellent opportunity for sampling driftwood from remote beaches and to begin to fill gaps in this important area of scientific knowledge. This pilot study will allow us to assess the feasibility of working with cruise ships for sampling driftwood in this manner. Methods: The OneOcean Expeditions cruise ship, ‘Akademik Sergey Vavilov’, is scheduled to sail to Baffin Island and West Greenland from 05 to 15 September 2018. The Baffin Island portion of the cruise begins by crossing Davis Strait from Greenland and proceeds to Qiqiktarjuaq, Sunneshine Fjord (Sunshine Fjord), Cape Mercy, Pangnirtung, Monumental Island, the Lower Savage Islands, and finally Iqaluit. Passenger shore excursions by ‘Zodiac’ are built into the itinerary of the ‘Vavilov’. During these excursions, we hope to land on uninhabited beaches at and adjacent to the locations shown on the enclosed maps. The number of these landing sites achieved is dependent upon weather and sea-ice conditions. At each location, we intend to collect driftwood samples, if present, by removing a section of wood through the centre of exposed logs. The removal of driftwood wedges, and in some cases slices, would be by manual saw and/or chainsaw maintained on board the 'Vavilov.' Any residual cuttings or driftwood material would be removed and the site returned to its natural state. It is our intent to use hand saws in as many cases as possible, reserving the chain saw only where necessary and where it would have no impact on wildlife. The driftwood samples would be taken back to the cruise ship via ‘Zodiac’ and then to the Tree-Ring Laboratory at the Department of Geography in Cambridge University. There the samples will be analysed as to age, provenance, transport history and climate fluctuations (including radiocarbon dating, tree-ring counting, species determination, DNA mapping of selected samples and stable isotope tracing). Outcome: The intention is to publish the results of these analyses in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Persons: 2
Days: 8
Project Map
List of all project geometries:
ID Geometry Location Name
3434 point Beaches around Sunneshine Fjord (Sunshine Fjord)
3436 point Beaches around Qikiqtarjuaq
3437 point Beaches around Cape Mercy
3438 point Beaches around Pangnirtung
3439 point Beaches around Monumental Island
3441 point Beaches around Iqaluit
3442 point Beaches around the Lower Savage Islands
3443 point Beaches around Reid Bay, avoiding Akpait NWA
Planning Regions:
Affected Areas and Land Types
Settlement Area
Project Land Use and Authorizations
Project Land Use
Scientific Research
Scientific Research
Licensing Agencies
NRI: Scientific Research Licence
Other Licensing Requirements
No data found.
Material Use
Type Quantity Size Use
Hand saw 3 up to 60 cm in length Driftwood samples will be cut with hand saws wherever possible to minimize disturbance to the environment.
Chainsaw 1 ca. 20 inch bar A chainsaw will be taken for cutting large driftwood sections that cannot be cut with a hand saw.
Fuel Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
Gasoline 1 0.5 Liters The chainsaw will use a mix of 2-cycle oil and gasoline.
Hazardous Material and Chemical Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
No records found.
Water Consumption
Daily Amount (m3) Retrieval Method Retrieval Location
Waste and Impacts
Environmental Impacts
There may be residual cuttings from sawing the driftwood sections. These will be collected and the site restored to its natural state.
Waste Management
Waste Type Quantity Generated Treatement Method Disposal Method
No data found.
Category: Application related document - Conformity Determination Letter
Recieved: 2018-03-13
Originator: Goump Djalogue
Public Registry ID: 13783
Document Size: 182.33 Kb
2018-02-24 23:27:33, from: Julian Dowdeswell
 I am not certain whether or not this application has been submitted. I thought that it had been submitted, but the words Completeness Check at the top, gives me cause for concern. Could you please confirm. Thank you.

2018-03-07 12:26:40, from: Allan Thompson
 I am returning your application so you can include the NBRLUP Questionaire