The 39-day ICEALOT research cruise to the ice-free regions of the eastern Arctic, led by PMEL scientists Trish Quinn and Tim Bates, concluded on April 24. The purpose of the cruise was to study springtime sources and transport of pollutants, evolution of aerosols and gases, and climate impacts of short-lived pollutants in the Arctic region. This cruise was a NOAA contribution to the International Polar Year, in coordination with the ARCPAC and POLARCAT projects. Over thirty PMEL, ESRL, and university researchers were aboard the R/V Knorr for the cruise from Woods Hole to Tromso, Norway, to Reykjavik.
Several tasks were successfully completed during the cruise, including sampling of smelter emissions from the Kola Peninsula, using lidar to capture a high-altitude plume of biomass burning emissions transported from Eastern Europe to the Arctic, and sampling of arctic haze formed from the transport of pollutants from the northern mid-latitudes. Properties of aerosol particles and gaseous compounds within the haze were characterized with one of the most comprehensive instrument packages ever deployed to the Arctic. Additionally, the ship positioned beneath CALIPSO, a space-based lidar, during 5 satellite overpasses, to assist in calibration/validation studies. The Knorr hove to in the vicinity of the Zeppelin sampling station on Spitsbergen Island, collecting air samples for inter-comparison purposes for more than 12 hours. The Zeppelin station has one of the longest data records in the Arctic for many of the same properties that were measured on the ship.
Over the next 2 years, the data collected on the cruise will be processed, analyzed, presented at national and international meetings, and published in scientific journals all with the goal of furthering our understanding of the impact of these short-lived pollutants on the Arctic.