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Dispatch 1: 15th Expedition to the Beaufort Gyre of the Arctic Ocean

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Andrey Proshutinsky

September 5, 2017

In 2017, the Joint Ocean Ice Study (JOIS) and the Beaufort Gyre Exploration Program (BGEP, projects’ field work conducted by the scientists from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will be continued, completing the 15-year cycle of annual late summer – early autumn operations in this remote region of the Arctic Ocean. 

These observations of atmospheric, sea ice, ocean and biogeochemical and ecosystem parameters on the board of the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louise S. St. Laurent began in 2003 and are proposed to continue throughout at least 2021. The Beaufort Gyre is a unique circulation component within the Arctic Ocean’s physical environment reflecting a set of specific atmospheric, sea-ice, and oceanic conditions that have significant interrelationships with the Arctic-wide as well as global climate systems.

During the 2017 expedition, we will continue observing water temperature, salinity, currents, geochemical tracers, sea ice draft, and sea level using bottom-anchored moorings and shipboard measurements important for climate studies to further our understanding of arctic freshwater transformations and fate. Three moorings will acquire precise data on the variations of the vertical distribution of seawater properties, bottom pressures, sea ice draft and surface waves (during open water conditions) at the same scientifically important sites within the Beaufort Gyre (Figure 1).

Ship-based synoptic sampling covering the entire BG region will be performed measuring water temperature and salinity, oxygen, nutrients, barium, CFCs and carbon tetrachloride, alkalinity, total CO2, dissolved inorganic carbon, and many other geochemical parameters along sections at 140W, 150W, ~ 75N and ~78N using a shipboard CTD/rosette. Between CTD/rosette casts, expendable CTDs that profile to 1100 m depth will continue to be used to increase spatial resolution of the temperature and salinity fields.

In 2017, the expedition (Figure 2) includes collaborators from many institutions of three countries, namely:


- Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario.

- Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec.

- University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia.

- Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec

- University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia


- Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), as part of the Pan-Arctic Climate Investigation (PACI).

- Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Tokyo.

- Kitami Institute of Technology, Hokkaido.


- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

- Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

- Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.

- Cold Regions Research Laboratory (CRREL), Hanover, New Hampshire.

- University of Montana, Missoula, Montana.

- Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, British Columbia

Our 2017 research cruise will start on September 6, 2017 in Cambridge Bay ( where all researchers will meet the icebreaker.

Daily expedition dispatches will be released starting on September 7th but some delays could be expected depending on internet accessibility.

On behalf of the expedition research team:

Andrey Proshutinsky,
Richard Krishfield and
Bill Williams

All questions and comments about this expedition, JOIS and BGEP projects please send to Susan Sholi ( and we will respond as soon as possible.

Last updated: October 7, 2019

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