Conclusions from the ICE-cruise with RV Lance

After 3 weeks of intensive work in icy waters off northern Svalbard, this year's ICE-cruise ended on May 16 in Longyearbyen. During this period, we documented the spring ocean and ice conditions as well as the timing and composition of the ice algal and phytoplankton bloom. We also studied spring snow–ice–ocean–atmosphere interactions, which are of great importance for improving the performance of climate models.

RV Lance ICE-cruise 2011 participants

RV Lance ICE-cruise 2011 participants. Photo: Tor Ivan Karlsen / Norwegian Polar Institute

BBQ party on the ice, cook Frode by the grill

We did break the vicious circle of eat-work-sleep-work with a BBQ-party on the ice half-way into the cruise. While cook Frode is attending the delicious meat on the grill, the cruise leader is wondering how many polar bears we might be inviting. Luckily, none came for dinner, but we did see quite a few during our cruise. Photo: Nalân Koç / Norwegian Polar Institute

It is not only fun to work in the freezing Arctic air, but also fun to eat outside!

It is not only fun to work in the freezing Arctic air, but also fun to eat outside! Photo: Jago Wallenschus / Norwegian Polar Institute

Jari Haapala, Nalân Koç & Mikko Lensu

The Finnish sea-ice mafia (Jari Haapala & Mikko Lensu) putting pressure on the cruise leader for going out to the ice floe for a few more hours… Photo: Mats Granskog / Norwegian Polar Institute

We worked at a total of 51 stations where we took the pulse of the ocean with the CTD 96 times, drilled, dug and measured snow and ice thickness at 7 ice stations, flew more than 1200 km with the EM-bird (electro-magnetic device to measure ice thickness from the air) as part of an international campaign to calibrate the CryoSat-2 satellite, and took 108 water samples for studying phytoplankton, nutrients, and bacteria.

The ship never sleeps and work was performed around the clock – still the biologists asked for one more net sample, divers for one more dive and the ice physicists pestered the cruise leader for permission to jump over to the next ice floe. All signs of highly motivated scientists and technicians! Despite the fact that we worked on the ice, from the boat with water samples and flew the helicopter all at the same time – necessities of interdisciplinary research – most operations went smoothly and efficiently thanks to the willingness and consideration of the cruise participants and the excellence of RV Lance's crew. Special thanks are extended to the three group leaders: Haakon Hop, Arild Sundfjord and Mats Granskog for the excellent work they did with the planning of the cruise work and their teams during the cruise.

Even though we have successfully completed the cruise, the work does not end here. It only starts, with analyses of all the samples and data that were collected.