CO2 and pH Studies of the Arctic Ocean


Now Archived! PolarConnect event with Dave Jones and researcher Mike DeGrandpre from Montana discussing research aboard the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent in the Beaufort Sea. You can access this and other events on the PolarConnect Archives site.

What Are They Doing?

Photo by Bill SchmokerAn underwater view of a CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth instrument). Photo by Bill Schmoker. Global warming and other climate-related processes are rapidly changing the Arctic Ocean. The carbon cycle is of particular concern in the Arctic because it is unknown how carbon sources and sinks will change and whether these changes will lead to increased greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere. Not much is known about the CO2 cycle in the central Arctic Ocean basins because nearly all measurements have been focused on the Arctic coasts during the low ice summer period. The team's contribution will be to collect shipboard CO2 data during these cruises and deploy CO2, pH and oxygen sensors on existing moorings in collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist Rick Krishfield.

The Arctic Ocean is changing rapidly. The changes have important implications for global carbon cycling, global fisheries and ocean acidification. There are many intertwining processes, however, that make future predictions difficult. This project will make important contributions to our understanding of the global carbon cycle and ocean acidification by providing Arctic scientists with high quality carbon cycle data to use in model development and as a baseline for comparison with future carbon parameter measurements.

Where Are They?

Photo by Bill SchmokerThe Canadian Ice Breaker CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent. Photo by Bill Schmoker. The team will be aboard the Canadian Ice Breaker CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent. The ship will come in and out of Kugluktuk, Nunavut in northern Canada. The ship's track will cover a portion of the Beaufort Shelf to the Mackenzie River outflow, then north into the Beaufort Sea and Canada Basin. The team will take commercial airline connections all the way to Kugluktuk. The CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent's helicopter then transports scientists to the ship anchored offshore of Kugluktuk.

Expedition Map


The LSSL near Kug
My first recollection of the term reentry was that of the Apollo space missions when the capsule that returned with the astronauts inside would reenter the earths atmosphere in a ball of flames. Then later there were similar reentry events with the Space Shuttle program. There was always talk of the reentry angle having to be just right so that the reentry vehicle did not disintegrate. There was also talk of the "blackout period" – the time during reentry when the communications were cut off. Finally there was always those images of the safely returned astronauts being whisked off in wheel...
Our location
First News We arrived mid morning at station AG5 and the sampling went smoothly. It is hard to believe that we are now done and steaming for our take out Kugluktuk aka “Kug” which happens on Wednesday October 3. There is lots of anticipation about getting home. For the crew of the Louis, it will have been six weeks! For most of the science it has been a mere four weeks. But first before disembarking, we must pack. Lots and lots of packing. This has been the 15th JOIS research cruise. Today Andrey Proshutinsky, Senior Scientist at WHOI writes about what has been accomplished and learned...
Bill Williams
Final words from Chief Scientist, cruise leader Bill Williams A big thanks to all the science team, and the Captain and crew of the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent. This has been a very successful 15th expedition and in very good company. Over the last month, we have covered the Beaufort Gyre with our grid of oceanographic stations, completing a huge amount of work with two ice stations, the three BGOS moorings recovered and redeployed, 69 XCTD casts, 59 CTD/Rosette casts, and 48 bongo net tows. In collecting water for geochemical analysis from the Niskin bottles on the Rosette, the day and night...
The stern takes a bath
First News The Louis is a fine vessel. It was designed to move through thick ice as if it were soft butter. It owes this ability to its round hull and keel-less design. This design is also its failing as far as moving through rough seas, especially when the waves are coming at the vessel from the side. As the ship rolls around in the swells, everything is done in a three-point stance. Walking down the hallway – three-point stance hand on a wall or handrail. Walking down stairs – four points of contact gets it done. Brushing teeth – three-point stance with thigh braced on the sink ('cause you...
Arthi and Cassie
First News Our track is now heading south to the MK line (see map below) where a series of CTD rosette casts are being done along the Beaufort Shelf moving from deep water to relatively shallow water. Seas are quite rough today with swells in the 2-3 meter range (and maybe bigger?). Made for an interesting dinner – first time I had to hold my plate with one hand while I shoveled food with the other in an attempt to keep the plate from sliding across the table. Lots of weaving and dodging as one walks around the hallways. In today's science meeting, Arthi Ramachandran a PhD student at...

Expedition Resources

Project Information

Dates: 4 September 2017 to 5 October 2017
Location: CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, Beaufort Sea
Project Funded Title: An Arctic Ocean sea surface pCO2 and pH observing network

Meet the Team

Dave Jones's picture
Big Sky High School
Missoula, MT
United States

Dave has been a Chemistry teacher at Big Sky High School for twenty-some years and has served as the Science Department Co-Chair for more than a dozen years. Dave came to Big Sky High School with a B.S. in Zoology from Idaho State University (1986) and eventually earned a M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Montana (2000). He has been involved in several inquiry-based curriculum development projects and trainings. Most notable of these has been the Frameworks for Inquiry Chemistry Project with Dr. Mark Cracolice at The University of Montana Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Along with five other Chemistry teachers from around Montana, they developed a unique High School Inquiry Based Chemistry curriculum. Dave has also worked with the Center for Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Montana on air quality related projects designed to bring project based learning experiences to high school chemistry students.

Dave received the 2009 Gustav Ohaus Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, the 2006 NSTA Vernier Technology Award, the 2005 Best Buy TEACH Award, and the 2005 ACS Division of Chemistry Education Northwest Region Teaching Excellence Award.

Dave’s basic science teaching philosophy is that students learn science concepts best when they can relate concepts directly to data from experiments they conduct themselves.

Dave is an avid climber, skier, and biker, and cannot bear the thought of spending his free time indoors.

Mike DeGrandpre's picture
University of Montana
Missoula, MT
United States

Mike DeGrandpre became fascinated with science and chemistry after ruining his mother’s card table with an incendiary chemical reaction at the age of 10. He enrolled in chemical engineering at Montana State University in 1981 and then went on to obtain a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1990. His research at the University of Montana was focused on fiber optic-based chemical sensors. He used this knowledge as a post-doctoral scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to develop a successful CO2 sensor (the “SAMI”) for marine applications. He came to the University of Montana in 1996, to, oddly enough, continue his ocean-focused research. The SAMI sensor technology has been a career-long endeavor, with the development and commercialization of related sensors while also using the sensors in aquatic environments, improving our understanding of the global carbon cycle and ocean acidification. His current research is focused on the Arctic Ocean carbon cycle and development of an autonomous alkalinity sensor.

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Latest Comments

Weather data and the Mercator Ocean model indicate that cyclonic winds in 2017 caused a weakening of the Beaufort gyre and the release of a substantial quantity of the fresh water in the gyre through...
Cassie I too enjoyed our time together on the LSSL. You are doing some really interesting work. Good luck with your continued studies and future career wherever it takes you (back to the Arctic??)....
Hi Dave, It was a pleasure to have met and worked with you on the Louis this past month. I enjoyed reading your dispatches! Thank you for capturing all the awesome moments. I also hope your students...
Things are good Cam. We are almost through. CTD rosette casts pretty much go down and come back up. Not a lot of wildlife to worry about. The biggest danger is to the crew who is out there on the...
Seeing the Polar bears was pretty cool. As far as interesting, watching the recovery and redeployment of the moorings is pretty interesting. dj From: PolarTREC <> To...