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Adam Ulfsbo onboard icebreaker Oden.
Adam Ulfsbo hopes to obtain an overall picture of the situation throughout the Arctic. This year’s travel will be his seventh longer expedition to the Arctic. (Photo from Ryder Expedition with Oden to Greenland in 2019.)
Photo: Adam Ulfsbo
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Adam Ulfsbo is going to map an unexplored part of the Arctic Ocean

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At the end of July, marine chemist Adam Ulfsbo will embark the icebreaker Oden to travel to the Arctic Ocean to investigate, among other things, the expansion of ocean acidification. This year, the expedition will go to a previously almost unexplored area between Greenland and the North Pole.

“The area has historically been inaccessible due to thick multiyear ice that has accumulated in the area, but is now getting thinner. It’s basically a blank canvas when it comes to observations, and we hope to decorate this canvas with lots of data,” says Adam Ulfsbo, researcher at the Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg.

Investigate the expansion of ocean acidification

This year's expedition with the icebreaker Oden is the Swedish contribution within the international research initiative Synoptic Arctic Survey (SAS), where some dozen countries map different areas in the Arctic Ocean during 2020 – 2022.

Adam Ulfsbo is the principal investigator for the work package 'Carbon and Tracer Chemistry', where the researchers will, among other things, investigate the occurrence of ocean acidification and the accumulation of carbon dioxide caused by human emissions.

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View from Icebreaker Oden over ice and Artcic ocean.
Research and environmental monitoring in and around the Arctic are becoming increasingly important for understanding the global, regional and local effects of climate change and the possibilities for adaptation. (Photo from Ryder Expedition in 2019.)
Photo: Adam Ulfsbo

“We hope to get a clear picture of how different dissolved chemical substances are distributed in the water masses, where the substances are coming from and where they are going, and thereby gain a better understanding of how the systems react to climate change, and how physical, chemical and biological changes in one region can be spread to another,” says Adam Ulfsbo.

Large and rapid changes in the Arctic climate

It’s of great importance to monitor changes in the Arctic, as the Arctic Ocean undergoes rapid, large-scale changes in temperature, sea ice, freshwater input and the carbon cycle – changes that all affect the local and global climate.

The Arctic is also particularly sensitive to ocean acidification, which has harmful effects on many forms of marine life and which can affect fish stocks and marine ecosystems in the Arctic.

“Together with our colleagues from the other international expeditions within SAS, we hope to obtain an overall picture of the situation throughout the Arctic," says Adam Ulfsbo.

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Water sampling from Oden.
The researchers are going to take water samples from the surface down to 4000 m depth, from the ship's surface water intake, and from ocean ice cores. (Photo from Ryder Expedition in 2019.)
Photo: Adam Ulfsbo

 

"We also need the observations to reduce uncertainties in the global climate models, and it’s of utmost importance to have a solid base line to be able to monitor changes,” says Adam Ulfsbo.

10 week long expedition

For Adam Ulfsbo, this year's expedition will be the seventh longer expedition to the Arctic. The icebreaker Oden weighs anchor on July 26, and the expedition is 10 weeks long, including a quarantine.

“It’s always exciting to travel north, and this year may be even more exciting because we are going to a pretty much unexplored area,” says Adam Ulfsbo.

Follow the Expedition

Follow the Expedition and Oden's position at the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat website: https://www.polar.se/expeditioner/synoptic-arctic-survey-2021/.

Synoptic Arctic Survey (SAS) is an international research initiative where some dozen countries map different areas in the Arctic Ocean during 2020 - 2022. SAS' official website: https://synopticarcticsurvey.w.uib.no/

Adam Ulfsbo has previously participated in, for example, the MOSAiC expedition with the German research icebreaker Polarstern (2020), and the Ryder Expedition with the Swedish icebreaker Oden to Greenland (2019).