PanArctic Ice Camp Expedition
North Pole Expedition
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Working plan of the PanArctic Ice Camp Expedition Print E-mail

Working planfor mezo-scale sea-ice polygon in the vicinity of the North Pole, April 2007


PAICEX (PanArctic Ice Camp Expedition) is the Science Project ( to investigate the relationships among physical, chemical and biological processes in the Central Arctic Ocean and represents the most complex interdisciplinary study ever undertaken in the Arctic. In April 2007, in a frame of PAICEX program as a component of the Russian IPY Science Plan, 2007-2008, there is planned to organize investigations at the meso-scale polygon in the vicinity of the North Pole to carry out physical, chemical and biological measurements of the Transarctic sea ice out-flow (e.g. transport of water mass, snow/ice thickness, nutrients, contaminants and biological tracers).

Two reasons are for preferring of this study area: scientifically and logistically.

Scientifically. Well known that the multi-year sea ice-cover, which is formed in an aquatorium of the Arctic Ocean, is mostly flown out from the Central Basin via geographical North Pole into the Fram Strait. On the base of meso-scale measurements of physical, geochemical and biological characteristics of sea ice and underlying sea water in the North Pole area it is possible to obtain data about processes to be occurred previously in the Central Basin. Snow/ice/water physical-chemical characteristics, sea ice biota and plankton species composition, in a whole, are able to be markers of environmental variations and to "tell" about conditions of the sea ice and upper ocean ecosystems under the pressing of warming in the Arctic.

Logistically. To conduct the large-scale and long-term observations in this area it is necessary to have not one but several ice platforms for maintaining multidisciplinary oceanological investigation. Observations at the one ice floe, e.g. as at the traditional drifting station "North Pole", can harvest limited information about processes, that, doubtless, is very insufficient for assessment of sea ice and upper ocean conditions in the whole basin. Just using several sea ice platforms it might take in hands the possibilities for collection of statistically significant information about processes in central regions of the Arctic Ocean. Ice-drifting station "Barneo" which is yearly based in the vicinity of the North Pole can be used a base platform for organizing several small ice camps in this region.

Logistical operations.

In April 2007 at 89N (position of the ice-station "Barneo") it will be arranged the meso-scale polygon looking as a cross with the ice-station Barneo in the centre and 4 ice camps oriented in direction N,S,E,W and located about 100 km off of the base station (Fig.). At the base drifting station (BDS) the Projects staff will organize and coordinate the field work at each ice drifting camp (IDC). Both at the BDS and each IDCs the working science groups will carry out field observations using same sampling methods, techniques and schedule under PAICEX-2007 Science Plan.

In the last decade of March, the Expeditionary Centre "Polus" transports all facilities from continent via Svalbard to "Barneo". When all science personal and equipments will be collected together at the BDS, the IDCs will be arranged by helicopter flights from BDS to the IDC positions (100 km from the BIS). At the beginning, 3 IDSs directed to E, S and W will be organized. Each science team consists of 2 scientists and 1 technician with 2 camps for the life and 1 camp for field and lab procedures, ski-doo, heater, generator etc. Thus, that is 3 stationary ice camps (similar to the Papanins camp, NP-1, 1937). When the field program will be finished, the IDCs personal and equipment will be evacuated by helos to BDS and then by airplane to the continent.

The IDC at the 90 N will be arranged as follows: 3 persons team with 3 ski-doo and sledges equipped both for life and field observations leaves "Barneo" with field work for the geographical NP (about 100 km). Here, this team will "stay" for the whole period of observations (about 2 weeks). This IDC is real mobile: drifting distance from the NP to the south in this area is approximately 5-7 km per day. It means that this IDC team needs to be coming back using ski-doo again to the NP with field samplings. It means that during the field period (around 2 weeks) this IDC team will cover the distance about 100-140 km with sampling along new drifting ice floes. The work of this IDC will be supported by helicopters flights for fuel and food supply, recovery of samples to the BDS, rotation of personal if needed, etc. Back trip from the NP area to the BDS will be also done by same way on ski-doo with field samplings.

All PAICEX-2007 aircraft operations are planned via Svalbard; the PAICEX team in April 2007 consists of 17 persons; the duration of expedition is 3 weeks.

Field observations: details and requirements.

PAICEX 2007-2008 Science Plan is presented in website ( Here, it is briefly shown main field observations, equipment, and time schedule of samplings which are planning to conduct in April 2007.

  • Hydrography. Daily temperature, conductivity are monitored during hydrographic casts with SeaBird in 0-1000-m water column at each IDCs. The hydrographic parameters to be measured with an autonomous sensor in the sea ice-water boundary layer are salinity, temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen and PAR (in the BDS only). The hydrohole with a tent and a winch with cable are required to conduct the oceanographic observations. These facilities can be used in cooperation with another PAICEX programs. Of highest priority is the section in the NP.
  • Hydrochemistry . Probes for P, N, Si, and chlorophyll measurements will be lowered to a depth of 300 m and collected using 5-l Niskin bottles hung on hydro-wire and messenger tripped. Hydro-casts will be taken at approximately 5-7 day intervals and conducted at the E, S, W-oriented IDCs and BDS; actual sampling intervals will be chosen by the Chief Scientist based on incoming data, e.g., the CTD distribution parameters. Water samples will be stored in frozen and darkness until analysis at the base station. The winch and cable to deploy the bottles are required to conduct the field hydrochemistry observations at the IDCs and THECHNICON for nutrients measurements in the base station.
  • Snow/ice characteristics. Snow horizontal profiles of depth, density, skin temperature, local albedo, as well as, ice albedo, transmittance, thickness profiles, mass changes, lateral melting, temperature and salinity measurements, thickness distribution function will be conducted and each IDCs and BDS. The mechanical and SIPRE type ice corers are required to need at each study area. Snow and ice profiles will be taken at approximately 5-7 day intervals.
  • Low atmosphere. Direct continuous observations of surface radiation (downwelling and upwelling streams, shortwave and long wave, total and spectral) with microwave radiometer, as well as, temperature and humidity, CO2 concentration in boundary layer are planned to investigate at the BDS.
  • Contaminant chemistry. Contaminant sampling program is to obtain particles and sediment samples which will allow estimates contaminants which have entered the Arctic through the atmosphere and through disposal into the oceans off Europe. Organochlorine pesticides, chlordane, trace metals and HCH, industrials products as well as byproducts like chlorinated dioxins will be measured both in snow and ice samples. Sediment traps will be deployed under ice in the vicinity of drifting stations. Probes for snow and ice contaminant will be collected in 5 day interval but sediment traps sampling interval is every 10 days.
  • Sea ice biology. Sea ice biota will be monitored with combinations of SIPRE-type coring and by underwater suction sampling. Away from the ice camps, tree sites will be established. Ice corers for biological research will be collected every 5-7 days for nutrients, organic carbon, and chlorophyll measurements and species identification. Snow-mobiles for transport of ice-cores samples and SIPRE ice-corers are required. This field work may be cooperated with other research program, e.g., snow-ice physical program.
  • Plankton. Weekly vertical plankton catches with Jeddy net (37x50-cm and mesh size 150 mkm) will be conducted in water column: 0-30, 0-50, 0-150 and 0-300 . Formalin fixed samples will be stored in darkness until analysis in stationary labs. Winches with 3 mm Kevlar wire are required at each IDC. Winch time may be used in cooperation with another research programs.

Project Management structure.

Project manager: Artur N. Chilingarov, Russian Polar Association, Russian Federation President Representative for the IPY Implementation. The following Science Steering Committee is responsible for the development, implementation and of the research and support plans for the PAICEX 2007-2008:

  • Melnikov I.A., Science chairman, P.P.Shirshov Institute of Oceanology
  • Sokolov V.T., co-chairman, Arctic-Antarctic Research Institute
  • Gruzinov V.M., Oceanographic Institution
  • Sychev Yu.F., Polar Foundation
  • Makshtas A.P., Arctic-Antarctic Research Institute
  • Shevchenko V.A. P.P.Shirshov Institute of Oceanology
  • Bogdanov L.M. Arctic/Antarctic Expeditionary Centre Polus

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