Map over SWERUS-C3 leg 1
Map over SWERUS-C3 leg 1.

The icebreaker Oden left Tromsö in Norway on July 5 and has been traveling along the Russian Arctic coast. The first leg had the theme “From permafrost thawing to the venting of greenhouse gases”.

During seven weeks at sea, the researchers focused on the outer part of the shallow East Siberian Arctic Sea with the aim of increasing understanding how thawing permafrost and gas hydrates could represent a carbon-climate feedback, enhancing the ongoing global warming process.

For the first time, elevated methane concentrations were detected in the seawater all the way up to the surface along the continental slope.

A successfull first leg

– We are satisfied that all research programmes onboard the Oden during the first leg have been achieved. We have covered a large new area of the Arctic and conducted 67 large sampling stations. We wish Leg two fore winds and moderate ice, says Örjan Gustafson, Professor at the Department of Applied Environmental Science, Stockholm University.

 – This Swedish-Russian-American cooperation will in the years ahead help bring important new knowledge about the links between the climate, the carbon system and the cryosphere in this important part of the Arctic ocean, Örjan Gustafsson continues.

Researchers on the Oden. Photo: Jorien Vonk
Researchers on the Oden. Photo: Jorien Vonk

The theme for leg 2

The second leg, which starts from Barrow, is led by Martin Jakobsson, Professor at the Department for Geological Sciences (IGV), Stockholm University. The theme for leg two is “From warmer seas and shrinking sea ice to greenhouse gas emissions”. The route back to Scandinavia will pass over the underwater Lomonosov Ridge. The expedition is expected to be back in Tromsö on October 4.

– The history of the sea ice is one of the main issues. We will now continue the programme by bringing up long sediment cores to study the longer time perspective, Martin Jakobsson says.

– The Arctic conditions are always a challenge when sampling. We will carry out geophysical surveys to study permafrost in the shallow shelf and the presence of gas hydrates along the slopes toward the deep part of the Arctic Ocean, Martin Jakobsson continues.

Photo: Jorien Vonk
Sunset in the Arctic. Photo: Jorien Vonk

Swedish Polar Research Secretariats director Björn Dahlbäck says:
– After all the preparation and all joint planning, it’s fun to see how well everything has worked out during the first leg – both with the research and the operative work. I look forward to following the work on the second leg.