Arctic Research Initiative
Despite its remoteness, the Arctic Ocean is intimately connected to the health of the planet, because it plays a pivotal role in Earth's climate system. The reality of recent changes in the Arctic—rapid warming and the accelerating loss of sea ice—is now widely acknowledged. The impact of such changes on marine and terrestrial ecosystems in the Arctic and beyond will be profound. Yet, research in the Arctic is complicated and difficult, because it is a largely inaccessible and unforgiving environment.
Growing interest in conducting such challenging research led WHOI to establish the Arctic Research Initiative.
The initiative includes support for:
- field programs to monitor changes in ocean circulation and sea ice,
- studies of river flow and the chemical composition of the waters draining into the Arctic Ocean,
- investigations of melting permafrost surrounding the Arctic Ocean and glaciers on the Greenland ice sheet,
- measurements of nutrient and carbon transport from the land to the sea,
- assessing changes in the ecosystem for marine mammals and resulting effects on local indigenous populations,
- gauging the impacts of increased coastal erosion and
- the development of new remote monitoring systems to observe this challenging environment.
Ocean circulation plays a key role in moderating the global climate, and the presence or absence of sea ice, permafrost, and glaciers impacts that circulation—thus, climate well beyond the Arctic. As climate changes, ecosystems change, and their inhabitants either adapt, move, or expire.
Therefore, the broad questions addressed by this initiative are:
- What are the regional and global effects of changes in the Arctic on the extent of sea ice, on ocean circulation, and on climate?
- What are the current and likely future effects on ecosystems within and beyond the Arctic? Understanding the changes in the Arctic will enable us to predict changes elsewhere in the world and perhaps indicate ways in which we might mitigate or cope with future climate change.
2013 Funded Research
2011 Funded Projects
Matt Charette, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry
2010 Funded Projects
Jeffrey Donnelly, Geology & Geophysics
Joan Bernhard, Geology & Geophysics
Liviu Giosan, Geology & Geophysics
Andrew Ashton, Geology & Geophysics
Kris Karnauskas, Geology & Geophysics
Andrea Hawkes, Geology & Geophysics
Elizabeth Kujawinski, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry
2009 Funded Projects
Cobalt Biogeochemistry in the Arctic Ocean in Relation to Riverine Flux and Phytoplankton Productivity
Makoto Saito, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry
Zhaohui Wang, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry
Lisan Yu, Physical Oceanography
Carl Lamborg, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry
2008 Funded Projects
2007 Funded Projects
Konrad Hughen, Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry
Fiamma Straneo, Physical Oceanography
Al Plueddemann, Physical Oceanography