ARCTIC SOLAS (Arctic Surface Lower Atmosphere Study)

Surface temperatures are rising at a rate unprecedented in recorded human history and the patterns of this fast change strongly point to increased anthropogenic emissions of several greenhouse gases. The Arctic is particularly sensitive to this warming. The Canadian Arctic is changing with important reduction of the extent, thickness, and age of sea ice and an increased eastward flow of Pacific waters through the Canadian Archipelago. The influence of these major alterations of the Arctic on sea-air and ice-air flux of climate-active gases and aerosols, and on atmospheric chemistry and radiative properties is largely unknown. The Arctic is important in the production and cycling of climate-active gases, including CO2, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrous oxide (N2O), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), halocarbons, and dimethylsulfide (DMS).

It is the goal of Arctic SOLAS, which is a SOLAS Canada project, to provide critical knowledge on the interactions between sea ice, circulation and emissions of gases and particles in the Arctic and to help reduce uncertainties as to these climate processes. We will seek answers to these key questions:

  1. How will the increased outflow of Pacific waters through the Canadian Archipelago affect the production and emission of climatically active gases?

  2. How do ice properties influence the production and ice-atmosphere exchanges of climatically active trace gases?
  3. How do these alterations in ocean-ice-atmosphere exchanges influence the chemical and radiative properties of the Arctic atmosphere?
    These questions will be addressed during the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008.

A mission was carried out in fall 2007 in the Baffin Bay and the Lancaster Sound onboard the Canadian research icebreaker Amundsen. A second mission will be held in fall 2008 in the Beaufort Sea, onboard the same ship.

Members of Québec-Océan involved in the project

Professors and researchers
Maurice Levasseur (U. Laval)
Michel Gosselin (UQAR/ISMER)
Michael Scarratt (Institut Maurice-Lamontagne)
Jean-Éric Tremblay (U. Laval)
Yves Gratton (INRS-ETE)

MSc students
Myriam Luce (U. Laval)
Jessie Motard-Côté (U. Laval)
Cynthia Gagné (U. Laval)
Marjolaine Blais (U. Laval)
Mariane Berrouard (U. Laval)
Kevin Randall (U. Laval)

Québec-Océan is a strategic cluster funded by FRQNT.