decade. Yet the heavy ice conditions of the central Arctic have required that
Erk Reimnitz and
Terry Tucker meas-
major expeditions use two ships. The expense of these scientific voyages has
uring the albedo of
severely limited the number of comprehensive measurements that can be made
the ice surface.
to understand natural processes in the Arctic Ocean.
The Arctic Ocean Section was designed to fill in some of the many
knowledge gaps about the Arctic Ocean. While there were several historic
firsts resulting from AOS-94, most were peripheral to the purposes of the
voyage--to increase our understanding of the Arctic Ocean in the context of
global change and to gather baseline data on contaminants in this region.
U.S. Coast Guard
With global climate change becoming an issue of international concern,
diver preparing to
attention has been increasingly focused on the Arctic, where all effects of global
collect ice algae
change are predicted to be amplified. It is also clear that the Arctic plays a key
role in the processes that cause climate
change. For instance, the ice cover of the
Arctic Ocean depends on a delicate and
relatively thin mixed layer that effectively
insulates the ice cover from the warmer
water below. Variations in the stratifica-
tion may alter the heat and moisture
exchanges with the atmosphere, affect-
ing the balance of all Arctic ice masses.
Predicted increases in air temperature will
affect the extent of the ice cover and ther-
fore the amount of the sun's heat absorbed