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Researchers return to icy Arctic gyre

For the third year, an international science team is studying climate change in one of the most inhospitable places on the planet-the Arctic Ocean's Beaufort Gyre. Cruise participant and documentarian Chris Linder of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution invites ASO readers to read dispatches and see photos from the field as the research progresses, starting this week.

Ice, ocean, atmosphere. These three components constitute the health of the Arctic climate.  At the heart of this system is one of the least studied bodies of water on the planet:  the Beaufort Gyre, a slowly swirling bowl of icy water north of Alaska ten times the size of Lake Michigan.

Recent observations suggest that, because of global warming, the natural rhythms of the Beaufort Gyre have been tipped out of balance.  To find out what this means for the future of the Arctic climate, scientists from the United States, Canada, and Japan will set out August 1st for a month-long expedition aboard the Canadian icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent.  They will use an array of newly-developed instruments to measure the environment above, below, and within the floating icepack.

Join the research team on the ice and aboard the icebreaker through the expedition web site.  The site features project and instrument descriptions, a history of the exploration of the Beaufort Gyre, and dispatches and photos updated from the field. 

[Read more at Beaufort Gyre Exploration Project]

Chris Linder / WHOI | Posted 08.01.05 at 3:13 am

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