GreMeCa – GREENHOUSE GASES AND MERCURY IN A CHANGING ARCTIC
This is an interdisciplinary project funded by The Swedish Research council. In short: The changing climate in polar regions is predicted to be faster than for the rest of our planet due to the influence of feedbacks related to the changing surface of Polar Oceans. The exchange between ocean –atmosphere - snow – sea ice of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, naturally produced ozone depleting substances, oxides of nitrogen) is driven by physical, chemical and biological processes occurring in the snowpack and sea ice, and this exchange has a significant impact on the concentrations of ozone and mercury. During spring at polar sunrise, both these chemical species are depleted in the troposphere, and this process is mediated by air-surface exchange of gases, specifically halogen species. The objective is to determine the importance of greenhouse gases, as well as mercury, for chemical and biological exchange processes in the marine environment with focus on Polar regions and their feedback mechanisms in the context of a changing climate. The project aims to investigate the mechanisms controlling the temporal and spatial variability in the processes driving the fluxes of greenhouse gases and mercury in the sensitive polar ocean. The exchange of species between sea – atmosphere- sea ice – snow, as well as the control mechanisms, will be studied in laboratory experiments as well as in field studies, with emphasis on the impact of changes in sea ice cover, precipitation, temperature, changes in UV radiation, and a high carbon dioxide scenario.
In March – April, 2010, we spent ca 3 weeks in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, studying the fluxes of e.g. greenhouse gases between the atmosphere, sea ice and sea water, and the impact of microalgae and bacteria on these processes.