URI Northwest Passage Project 2018 Overview
The Northwest Passage Project (NPP) is a US National Science Foundation funded program to explore the changing Arctic through an innovative expedition that will engage diverse audiences through real time interactions from sea, a high definition 2-hour documentary, and related community events. The expedition will be conducted onboard the One Ocean Akademik Ioffe, which will be fully equipped with telepresence technologies for shore-based participation in the project. Undergraduate and graduate students will participate in the expedition along with scientists, historians, journalists, and a documentary film crew.
The URI Northwest Passage Project applied for permits in 2017 (NPC File # 148421 and NIRB: 17YN016 --withdrawn), but was unable to conduct the expedition due to the withdrawal of our ship partner, Oliver Hazard Perry. With a different ship and another year, the science party has changed a bit but the science objectives are essentially the same. There are now several Canadian scientists in the party along with one young scientist from Cambridge Bay.
The science activities are motivated by the overarching goal to understand how waters of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) have changed as a consequence of the secular warming trend over the Arctic Circle. We approach this goal using an interdisciplinary ocean-based research program to explore the changes in four (4) thematic areas:
1.Water mass properties and circulation inside the CAA. Science leads: D. Gong, Lydia Bienlien, Virginian Institute of Marine Science (VIMS).
2.Microscopic communities in transition due to a changing Arctic climate. Science leads: K. Boswell, Florida International University (FIU), M. Thaler, Universite Laval (U. Laval).
3.At-sea distributions of marine birds and mammals in Canadian Arctic waters. Science leads: C. Gjerdrum, Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS), H. Morin, University of Rhode Island, Inner Space Center (URI, ISC).
4.Greenhouse gas chemistry, and microbial activity of the melting Arctic and marginal seas. Science leads: B. Loose , Z. Kerrigan University of Rhode Island (URI), A. Bellagamba, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), S. Rosengard, University of British Columbia (UBC).
The NPP Akademik Ioffe expedition will transit the Northwest passage from Resolute Bay, departing August 23, 2018, traveling south and west to Cambridge Bay via Bellot Strait and then returning to Lancaster Sound and Pond Inlet before travelling down the east side of Baffin Island. The expedition will terminate in Iqaluit on September 13, 2018. The One Ocean expedition (OOE) will make 22 stops for sightseeing; a portion of these will include shore landings for debarking of participants for research and educational activities and videography. Science activities will be primarily ship-based, and will occur continuously or on an event basis throughout the expedition. CTD rosette casts and zooplankton net tows will occur every 100 nm or approximately daily, whichever comes first. Other activities, including atmospheric sampling, flowing seawater, mammal and seabird census counts will take place throughout the expedition. There will also be an underwater glider deployment and recovery during the cruise. After Iqaluit, the ship will then transit to Halifax, Nova Scotia and while in transit onboard pumped water measurements and atmospheric measurements will continue until September 20 with a single member of the science party
A detailed description of the science activities along with additional information about the acoustics methods and the glider deployment are in the documents attached to the application.