The 2023 Arctic scientific expedition of the Canadian research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen is close to its departure. Ship-time applications were received and evaluated by the User Advisory Committee and by the Board of Directors. Meetings with the selected research programs took place to assess the feasibility of their projects within the allocated time for this year’s expedition. The 2023 Preliminary Expedition Plan was developed and has been refined and consolidated during the Planning Workshop held on February 28 and March 1st at Québec City. The 2023 Amundsen Expedition will take place from 8 July to 26 October, divided into 4 Legs spaced at 28-day intervals, for a total of 111 days at sea. Nine research programs are allocated ship time during the 2023 Amundsen Expedition. The research programs supported in 2023 will study the Arctic and subarctic marine ecosystems through multidisciplinary research activities and integrated studies targeting the physical, chemical and biological environments and the geology of the seabed of the Labrador Sea, Baffin Bay, Nares Strait, Lancaster Sound, Foxe Basin and Hudson Strait.
From 13 July to 10 August 2023 (From St. John’s to Iqaluit)
The first Leg of the 2023 Amundsen expedition will encompass four programs. One of these programs is the Imappivut initiative, led by the Nunatsiavut Government, which aims to enhance the understanding of pelagic fish and primary producers communities in data-poor areas. Additionally, it seeks to identify new vulnerable marine ecosystems along the Labrador Coast, with the valuable guidance of local Nunatsiavut knowledge. Furthermore, this project aims to investigate the presence of contaminants and microplastics within the Labrador Sea, coastal waters, and fjords, examining their impact on the food chain. During this Leg, six deployments of ASTRID, the remotely operated vehicle (ROV), are scheduled to explore the marine ecosystems in designated locations along the Nunatsiavut Coast, Labrador Sea, Baffin Bay, and Baffin Island.
Regarding the exchange aspect, the Imappivut project aims to explore the co-production of knowledge with participants on board, fostering interdisciplinary learning and creating space for collaborative exchanges. During Leg 1, scientific teams and crew members of the Amundsen will visit Nain to connect with local community members and discover their territory. The CCGS Amundsen will also be available for a guided tour of the ship and its state-of-the-art equipment.
The DFO Benthic Refuges program, will also take place in Leg 1 and it focuses on monitoring sensitive benthic areas within the Eastern Arctic Marine Refuges.
Deployment and recovery of moorings are planned during the first Leg for the community-based acoustic monitoring program near Clyde River. This collaboration includes the Ittaq program, which will assess a multi-year oceanographic and pelagic data time series. Additionally, this project aims to create new relationships between Clyde River community and Amundsen Science.
From 10 August to 7 September 2023 (From Iqaluit to Resolute Bay)
During the second Leg of the 2023 Amundsen expedition, four programs are planned; KEBABB, ArcticNet, Now Survey and Sentinel North.
The KEBABB (Knowledge and ecosystem-based approach in Baffin Bay) program is focused on comprehending the connected system of the atmosphere-ice-ocean, and how ongoing changes impact marine ecosystems. This research will provide valuable insights for sustainable management and conservation efforts in Tuvaijuittuq (interim Marine Protected Area).
The ArcticNet program aims to assess the long-term impacts of climate change on the marine ecosystem of the Canadian Arctic through comprehensive multidisciplinary sampling. By studying various aspects such as geology, kelp, fish, and biogeochemical processes, this program seeks to understand how climate-induced changes are affecting the Canadian Arctic Ocean and its marginal seas.
The NOW Survey program aims to investigate how changes in the spatial extent and duration of the Pikialasorsuaq polynya might alter the productivity and diversity of Arctic endemic species and its connectivity with southern ecosystems.
The Sentinel North program supports two projects. The first project aims to understand the changes in the biological functioning, such as biogeochemical fluxes and biodiversity, in the northern Baffin Bay ecosystem. It also involves quantifying selenoneine, a naturally occurring organic compound that contains selenium, in benthic ecosystems. The second project (RED-AO) focuses on comprehending the physical, chemical, and biological processes in the last multiyear sea ice refuge in the Arctic Ocean. It involves conducting spatial and temporal surveys to study key processes related to past, present, and future climate-induced changes in the last ice area.
From 7 September to 5 October 2023 (From Resolute Bay to Resolute Bay)
During this Leg of the expedition, the Amundsen will occupy historical and monitoring transects in Nares Strait, Grise and Archer Fjords, Jones Sound, Talbot Inlet and Belcher and Crocker Bay Glaciers and will reach the Lincoln Sea if the sea ice condition permitted.
Within this Leg, ten moorings as part of ArcticNet, Now Survey, and Arctic CORE (Conservation, Observation, Research & Engagement) programs are planned. The Arctic CORE program aims to study the connected system of the atmosphere-ice-ocean, and understand how the ongoing changes impact marine ecosystems. These findings will contribute to sustainable management and conservation efforts in Tuvaijuittuq and the eastern Arctic region.
The CCGS Amundsen helicopter is scheduled to conduct aerial surveys of the glaciers and deploy beacons to track ice movements on land and over water. These beacons will be installed on glaciers located on Ellesmere, Easter, and Devon Islands.
From 5 to 26 October 2023 (From Resolute Bay to Québec City)
During the fourth and last Leg of the expedition, the Amundsen will retrace its way back while conducting sampling activities in various locations, including the Gulf of Boothia, Fury and Hecla Strait, Foxe Basin, Hudson Strait, and Labrador Sea. Two programs are planned during Leg 4: the ArcticNet and the FoxSIPP (the Foxe Basin Sea Ice Pump) programs. The FoxSIPP program aims to investigate the chemistry of the deep water that is formed annually in Foxe Basin and drains into Foxe Channel. A river sampling will be carried out during this Leg using the ship’s helicopter in Prince Regent Inlet, Northern and Western Foxe Basin, and North Hudson Strait.