Ocean Dynamics Beaufort Sea
What Are They Doing?
Most of the time, prevailing winds cause a huge area of the Beaufort Sea to circulate in a clockwise (anticyclonic) direction; this circulation is know as the Beaufort Gyre. The Beaufort Gyre contains the major reservoir of fresh water stored in the Arctic Ocean, and learning more about how the Beaufort Gyre accumulates and releases fresh water as conditions change will improve understanding of ocean circulation in the Arctic Ocean.
The Beaufort Gyre team measured ice thickness, ocean temperature, salinity, and bottom pressure by deploying and retrieving bottom-tethered moorings. Other moorings, known as ice-tethered profilers, were attached to the sea ice to observe and broadcast ocean properties in real time. The Beaufort Gyre Expedition was part of the Joint Ocean Ice Study being conducted on a Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker in collaboration with scientists from the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Canada and JAMSTEC in Japan. The research team has worked in this area on annual cruises with scientists from Canada, the U.S., China, and Japan since 2003. Click here to go to the Beaufort Gyre Exploration Project Page.
Where Are They?
The team traveled to and from Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Canada where they used a helicopter to board the Canadian Icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent. From there they traveled north into the Beaufort Sea.
Meet the Team
Gerty Cori Ward grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. Camping was a family tradition, and she spent summers canoe tripping through Algonquin Park in Ontario, Canada. She comes from a family with a strong scientific tradition (her grandparents shared the 1947 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on the biochemistry of carbohydrates), but after graduation from Vassar College with a degree in Economics, she worked in the finance industry. After three years the call of destiny was simply too strong, so she went back to school and earned a Ph.D. in molecular genetics from North Carolina State University. As an adult, after wearing many hats, she became a science teacher to strengthen the connection between scientists in the field and students in the classroom. Ms. Ward now happily teaches middle school science at Durham Academy in Durham, North Carolina. Her classroom motto is, "when in doubt, doubt!" and she hopes to empower her students to look critically at the scientific claims that shape our world.
Rick Krishfield works for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. His scientific expertise includes arctic oceanography and biogeochemistry, air-ice-ocean interactions, and ice flow dynamics and kinematics. Mr. Krishfield has extensive field experience in the Arctic. He hopes that Ms. Ward will bring a fresh viewpoint and help to interest the general public and school children in scientific research.
Andrey Proshutinsky is the Principal Investigator of the Beaufort Gyre Exploration program and a Senior Scientist in WHOI's Physical Oceanography Department. Dr. Proshutinsky has more than 25 years of experience studying the Arctic Seas, and has produced numerous publications concerning regional oceanography and meteorology, climate change, numerical modeling of ice and water dynamics, Arctic Ocean tides and storm surges, and Northern Sea Route climatology and navigation conditions.