Polar Research https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar <p><em>Polar Research</em>&nbsp;is the international, peer-reviewed journal of the&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://www.npolar.no/en/">Norwegian Polar Institute</a></strong>, Norway's central institution for research, environmental monitoring and mapping of the polar regions.&nbsp;</p> en-US <p><span style="color: #4b7d92;">This work is licensed under a <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 Unported License</a>.<br>Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to the Norwegian Polar Institute.</span></p> <p><img src="/public/site/images/ecsemiczky/88x31_CC_BY1.png"></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> helle.goldman@npolar.no (Helle V. Goldman) emma.csemiczky@openacademia.net (Emma Csemiczky) Mon, 21 Jan 2019 05:10:19 -0800 OJS http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss 60 Temporal and spatial variability of stream water chemistry on Subantarctic Marion Island https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3356 <p>Concentrations of major ions in stream water from the Soft Plume River on Subantarctic Marion Island were measured. During the annual relief voyage, samples were collected daily over a 16-day period (21 April–6 May 2015) from three sites along the stream to better understand temporal and spatial variability of stream water chemistry on the island. The chemical composition of the stream is dominated by the sea salts Na<sup>+</sup>&nbsp;and Cl<sup>−</sup>. Mean solute concentrations for Na<sup>+</sup>&nbsp;and Cl<sup>−</sup>&nbsp;are 7 ± 0.58 and 12.5 ± 0.84 mg/L, respectively. The mean molar Na:Cl ratio for all samples is 0.86 ± 0.05, with a range from 0.71 to 0.99 (<em>n</em>&nbsp;= 47), and there is a strong, significant positive correlation between Na<sup>+</sup>&nbsp;and Cl<sup>−</sup>&nbsp;concentrations (<em>r</em>&nbsp;= 0.80;&nbsp;<em>p</em>&nbsp;&lt; 0.001). These values are consistent with previous studies from Marion Island and other Subantarctic islands. Temporal variation in ion concentrations was small. The largest detected change was a decrease in most solute concentrations that coincided with two precipitation events. This decrease was largest at the highest altitude and the shallowest site, suggesting that there was more rainfall at this location. These findings confirm the dominance of the surrounding ocean as the main source of the island’s stream water chemistry and illustrate spatiotemporal patterns that provide an insight into mechanisms affecting their composition on Subantarctic Marion Island.</p> M.-J. Stowe, David William Hedding, Frank D. Eckardt, Werner Nel Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3356 Fri, 27 Dec 2019 05:02:24 -0800 Monitoring glacier flow in Ny-Ålesund with a high temporal resolution ground-based interferometric-phased array radar https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3382 <p>Monitoring glacier flow speed and calving rates is of interest for climate research, global sea-level studies and Arctic ship traffic. The research station in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, offers a unique location close to multiple glacier fronts. In this study, we explore the possibilities of permanent monitoring of glaciers in the Ny-Ålesund area using a ground-based interferometric radar with a significantly higher temporal resolution than what is achievable from satellites or mechanical scanning ground-based radars. Measurements were made from two different locations—Pynten and the Ny-Ålesund research station—located 5 and 15 km from Kronebreen glacier, respectively. The temporal resolution of the radar is flexible, and in this experiment is limited to five images per minute, providing data with high temporal resolution of glacier flow. We calculated a geo-located two-dimensional flow map of the glacier from the radar data, extracted glacier speed profiles and identified major calving onsets. This type of near real-time data may well be used with machine-learning techniques for more advanced monitoring systems. The radar measurements agree well with previous satellite measurements at lower temporal resolution. The observed mean flow of the Kronebreen glacier front varies across the glacier from around 0.4 m/day at the edges to 3 m/day in the central part. We identify and discuss possible improvements to the radar system and conclude that Ny-Ålesund is a well-suited location for radar monitoring of glacier flow velocities.</p> Rune Gundersen, Richard Norland, Cecilie Rolstad Denby Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3382 Tue, 24 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 Comparison of passive microwave remote-sensing snow-depth products on Arctic sea ice https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3432 <p>Changes in snow cover on the surface of Arctic sea ice affect the energy balance between the atmosphere and the ocean and play a vital role in the global climate system. Accurate snow depth is a precondition for representing thermodynamic processes in sea-ice systems and is helpful for estimating sea-ice thickness. To better apply Arctic snow-depth products released by different organizations, we compared four kinds of snow-depth products based on three kinds of passive microwave (PM) sensors and evaluated them against the snow depth measured by ice mass-balance buoys (IMB snow depth) and Operation Ice Bridge airborne snow radar (OIB snow depth). The results show that the snow depths from the product released by the University of Bremen (UB) are larger than those by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), with an average difference of 10 cm. Comparing the PM remote-sensing snow depths released by UB, NSIDC and NASA against IMB and OIB snow depths, it is found that NSIDC AMSR-E snow-depth product has the highest accuracy. Although these PM remote-sensing snow-depth products released by different organizations differ in accuracy, they all reflect the spatio-temporal variation characteristics of snow depth on Arctic sea ice. These comparisons and analysis of snow-depth products from different sensors released by different organizations provide a basis for further investigation of Arctic sea-ice thickness estimation and benefit the studies of Arctic sea ice and climate change.</p> Chenlei Zhang, Qing Ji, Xiaoping Pang, Jie Su, Chang Liu Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3432 Fri, 20 Dec 2019 04:42:13 -0800 No second-in-command: human fatigue and the crash of the airship Italia revisited https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3467 <p>The dirigible&nbsp;<em>Italia</em>&nbsp;crashed onto the Arctic sea ice north-east of the Svalbard archipelago on 25 May 1928 at 10:33 GMT while travelling back to her base from the North Pole. Only eight of the 16 crew members survived: one was killed upon impact, one did not survive the post-crash ordeal and six were trapped in the airship envelope (i.e., the balloon), which floated away and disappeared. No definite conclusions have ever been reached about the causes of the crash. The judgements of the Commission of Inquiry instituted by the Italian government and published in 1929 are carefully examined. Recent analysis has presented evidence that the mishap may have been fatigue-related. In this paper, the pivotal question of why General Nobile was so sleep-deprived at the time of the accident is addressed, specifically with reference to the lack of a second-in-command (i.e., a deputy commander) during the flight. Such a position was a standard practice for airships at the time, and General Nobile himself described this position as one necessary for an airship. Nevertheless, for a variety of reasons he proceeded on the&nbsp;<em>Italia</em>&nbsp;expedition without an official crew member responsible for this role. The lack of a second-in-command is proposed as a possible major contributing factor in the overall sequence of events leading to the crash of the&nbsp;<em>Italia</em>, although other possible causes and contributing factors for the crash are also considered, including structural failures, crew selection and political obstacles.</p> Gregg A. Bendrick, Sergio Alessandrini Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3467 Thu, 19 Dec 2019 06:34:44 -0800 Rapid unpredicted changes in the stratification of marine lake Mogilnoe (Kildin Island, the Barents Sea) through the early 21st century https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3394 <p>Lake Mogilnoe is a rare example of an anchialine lake (with subterranean connection to the ocean) in the Arctic, a refuge for landlocked populations of marine organisms. The lake has been the subject of intensive studies since the end of the 19th century. Here we demonstrate that between the 2003–07 and 2015–18 observation periods this permanently stratified lake experienced significant changes. The surface salinity increased and exceeded the tolerance limits of many freshwater organisms. The bottom anoxia expanded from one-fifth to one-third of the lake volume. Such a turn in stratification affected both composition and distribution of biota: freshwater zooplanktonic species virtually disappeared, while benthic communities shifted to shallower depths. Although recent changes in the lake stratification are consistent with the long-term trend, their scale is much larger than has been observed during the past 120 years. It was earlier considered that the lake dynamics were mainly affected by human activity in the vicinity of the lake. However, lack of human activity around Mogilnoe during last decades persuades us to search for the natural causes of the recorded changes.</p> Petr Strelkov, Igor Stogov, Elena Krasnova, Ekaterina Movchan, Nataliya Polyakova, Sergei Goldin, Mikhail Ivanov, Tatiana Ivanova, Sergey Malavenda, Mikhail Fedyuk, Natalia Shunatova Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3394 Thu, 19 Dec 2019 02:05:27 -0800 Diving behaviour of adult male white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in Svalbard, Norway https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3605 <p>White whales (<em>Delphinapterus leucas</em>) in Svalbard remain near the coast much of the year, spending most of their time in front of tidewater glaciers. In this article, the diving behaviour of adult male white whales in Svalbard (N = 16) is presented based on satellite-relay data loggers that record time and depth of diving as well as positions. The loggers transmitted data for an average of 87 ± 52 days (range 2–163 days). After filtering, 55 359 dives were available for the study. Most of the dives were extremely shallow (13 ± 26 m, maximum 350 m) and of short duration (97 ± 123 s, maximum 31.4 min). At tidewater glacier fronts, the white whales optimized their time at the bottom of dives and spent longer periods resting at the surface after dives, in accordance with what would be expected when foraging. This behaviour was also documented when animals were out in the fjords. When the whales moved between areas around the archipelago, they swam close to the coast, staying right below the surface most of the time, presumably to minimize energy expenditure during transits. When sea ice formed during the winter, the whales were forced offshore into somewhat deeper areas with drifting ice. In these areas, the whales minimized time at the surface and dove somewhat deeper, sometimes reaching the bottom, presumably to feed on neritic prey.</p> Jade Vacquié-Garcia, Christian Lydersen, Kit M. Kovacs Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3605 Mon, 16 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 How long will an Arctic mountain glacier survive? A case study of Austre Lovénbreen, Svalbard https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3519 <p>To study Arctic valley glacier responses to global climate change, the Elmer/Ice ice-flow model was used to investigate long-term changes in Austre Lovénbreen, a typical polythermal glacier in Svalbard. Evolution and features, including volume, area, ice thickness, runoff and time and mode of glacier disappearance, were projected. Firstly, steady-state simulations were performed to determine the best parameters for the ice-flow model, which were then used to simulate glacial dynamics. Based on the 21st-century Arctic warming trend in the fifth assessment report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the evolution of the glacier was simulated under three hypothetical climatic scenarios: pessimistic, high-probability and optimistic. The results predicted that the glacier will retreat until disappearance under all three scenarios, and its disappearance time will likely be approximately 111 years (by 2120). Under all scenarios, glacier volume and area reductions will be slow at first, then fast and finally slow again at the end. In particular, glacial runoff will increase markedly until 2070 in the high-probability scenario, and the peak runoff will be double the current value.</p> Zemin Wang, Guobiao Lin, Songtao Ai Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3519 Fri, 13 Dec 2019 02:40:46 -0800 Are moths the missing pollinators in Subantarctic New Zealand? https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3545 <p>On offshore islands, flowers are typically small, simple in colour and shape and more reliant on wind- or self-pollination than insect-mediated pollination. Islands also tend to have a species-poor pollinating fauna. The New Zealand Subantarctic islands (latitude between about 46° and 60°) have a depauperate pollinator fauna. However, many flowers in this region are large, brightly coloured and apparently completely reliant on insect visitors for pollination. In the absence of bees and butterflies, moths and flies may be particularly important pollinators in the region. Using six Heath moth traps simultaneously over four nights in three different habitat types, 241 moths were caught, representing six species. We found that moths carried pollen identified to four plant species (<em>Bulbinella rossii</em>,&nbsp;<em>Dracophyllum longifolium</em>,&nbsp;<em>Gentianella concinna</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>Acaena minor</em>), with&nbsp;<em>B. rossii</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>D. longifolium</em>&nbsp;pollen being most abundant on moth bodies. Weather conditions explained moth abundance and distribution, but neither weather nor the number of moths caught were reliable predictors of their potential as pollinators; moths carried on average more pollen grains from more plant species in the shrubland despite harsh weather conditions and few individuals caught. Local flowering abundances may help explain this trend, with the predominance of&nbsp;<em>D. longifolium</em>&nbsp;flowering in the shrubland and&nbsp;<em>B. rossii</em>&nbsp;in the exposed megaherb field. This study is the first to provide evidence that moths may be capable of acting as pollinators in Subantarctic New Zealand, and that their contribution should not continue to be overlooked.</p> Max N. Buxton, Barbara J. Anderson, Robert J.B. Hoare, Janice M. Lord Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3545 Thu, 12 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 Wintering seabirds in south-west Greenland, 2017 https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3462 <p>The South-west Greenland Open Water Area is an internationally important wintering area for seabirds in the North Atlantic. Nearly two decades after the area was last surveyed, we conducted a replicate aerial survey in March 2017 to update information on the distribution and abundance of seabirds. With a total effort of about 5800 km, we covered the coastal area from Aasiaat (69°N) to Kap Farvel (60°N), 56% of the open water area in the fjords, and the offshore bank, Store Hellefiskebanke. Line transect survey methodology was used except in the fjords, which were censused by total counts. By means of distance sampling analyses, the abundances of the dominant species were estimated to be roughly 1100 000 king eiders (<em>Somateria spectabilis</em>), 443 000 common eiders (<em>Somateria mollissima</em>), 42 000 long-tailed ducks (<em>Clangula hyemalis</em>) and 76 000 Iceland gulls/glaucous gulls (<em>Larus glaucoides/Larus hyperboreus</em>). For the great black-backed gull (<em>Larus marinus</em>), great cormorant (<em>Phalacrocorax carbo</em>), mallard (<em>Anas platyrhynchos</em>) and red-breasted merganser (<em>Mergus serrator</em>), we present the first winter population estimates for the area (6100, 7700, 7600 and 3200 individuals, respectively). Areas around Kangaatsiaq, Nuuk and Julianehåbsbugten were identified as key wintering sites, as was Store Hellefiskebanke which held 99% of the king eiders. For all species assessed in 1999, abundance in the coastal survey area was considerably lower in 2017. In some cases, this may be due to changes in distribution patterns. However, for thick-billed murre (<em>Uria lomvia</em>), long-tailed duck and black-legged kittiwake (<em>Rissa tridactyla</em>), the reduced coastal abundances coincide with declining breeding populations.</p> Flemming Ravn Merkel, Kasper Lambert Johansen, Rasmus Due Nielsen, Ib Krag Petersen, Jacob Sterup, Anders Mosbech Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3462 Mon, 09 Dec 2019 10:14:32 -0800 The radiolarian fauna during the Younger Dryas–Holocene transition in Andfjorden, northern Norway https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3444 <p>We report on the changing radiolarian faunas from the Younger Dryas (ca.12.9 calibrated thousands of years BP [cal. Ky BP]) and into the Holocene (ca. 10.3 cal. Ky BP) in the core JM99-1200 from Andfjorden, northern Norway. Temperature reconstructions using both the Q-mode factor analysis and modern analogue technique methods show stable, cold temperatures below ca. 410 cm core depth, followed by abrupt warming into a relatively stable Holocene temperature regime. Age-depth modelling with three different methods gives an age of ca. 11.9–12.0 cal. Ky BP at this core depth, clearly older than the Younger Dryas–Holocene transition at ca. 11.65 cal. Ky BP according to ice core chronology. Considering that the age models may be insufficiently informed in an interval without radiometric dates, it is possible that the base of the Holocene is indeed at 410 cm, as indicated by the radiolarian and other core data. Such a change in the chronology would have implications for previously published work on the JM99-1200 core. Alternatively, the abrupt warming in Andfjorden predated the Younger Dryas–Holocene transition by a few hundred years. A distinct cold pulse at ca. 315–335 cm, or 11.4–11.5 cal. Ky BP is interpreted as the Preboreal Oscillation. The Preboreal Oscillation has not previously been detected in temperature curves based on planktic foraminifera in the same core, indicating that Radiolaria may be a more sensitive temperature indicator in this region.</p> Kjell R. Bjørklund, Svetlana B. Kruglikova, Øyvind Hammer Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3444 Wed, 04 Dec 2019 06:21:08 -0800 First pre-modern record of the gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) in north-east Greenland https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3539 <p>Gyrfalcon (<em>Falco rusticolus</em>) is the largest falcon in the world. It inhabits a wide range of climate zones in the Northern Hemisphere, from boreal forests in the south of its range to the arid polar deserts of the High Arctic. In Greenland, because of the harsh, remote environments in which gyrfalcons live, research related to the contemporary and pre-modern periods has been limited to the north-west, central west and central east coasts, with no specific investigations being conducted for the north-east. Here, we report the first pre-modern record of a gyrfalcon in north-east Greenland, located at 80.4°N in Kronprins Christian Land. Skin tissue from a decaying gyrfalcon’s body was radiocarbon dated to 769–944 CE (common era) using a terrestrial-only calibration curve, and 1182–1456 CE using a marine-only calibration curve. Since the gyrfalcon has a mixed terrestrial/marine diet, the actual age can be said to belong between these two groups. This limited data, therefore places the presence of the gyrfalcon in north-east Greenland during a period of prolonged elevated temperatures and climate stress associated with the Medieval Climate Anomaly. Whether the gyrfalcon was part of a larger population or a straggler, and whether the species survived the whole of the Medieval Climate Anomaly in north-east Greenland, is unknown.</p> Gina E. Moseley, Jørgen Rosvold, Anne Birgitte Gotfredsen, Irka Hajdas, Olivier Gilg, Kristian M. Gregersen, Christoph Spötl, R. Lawrence Edwards Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3539 Wed, 04 Dec 2019 06:08:12 -0800 Indication of Holocene sea-level stability in the southern Laptev Sea recorded by beach ridges in north-east Siberia, Russia https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3379 <p>The rapid warming of the Arctic may affect the stability of coastal geomorphological systems. Prograded sequences of wave-built deposits, so-called beach-ridge systems, preserve a proxy record of the long-term variability in the drivers of coastal evolution. Information on relative sea level (RSL), climate forcing and sediment supply can be reconstructed from these archives. Buor Khaya Bay is one of the few places along the Siberian Arctic coast where wide beach-ridge systems exist. A previously undescribed field site was surveyed in order to obtain information on the geomorphological processes along the modern shoreline under the current environmental conditions, and the characteristics of the Holocene beach-ridge deposits (e.g., elevation, sediment and age). Our data show that the system formed under storm wave/surge conditions. The beach ridges prograded ca. 1100 m between 6200 and 2600 cal yr BP, with only minor variations in surface elevation. This suggests a continuous and high sediment supply and similar storm wave run-up heights during that time. This relationship is interpreted as indicating RSL stability at a similar-to-present elevation during the period of beach-ridge formation. The hiatus in coastal progradation is concurrent with a deteriorating climate (cooling) in the Laptev Sea area and our data hence suggest increased rates of coastal change during periods of warmer climate conditions. Our study illustrates the potential of coastal sedimentary archives to provide a more complete view of the forcing, resilience and long-term evolution of unconsolidated Arctic coasts in a changing environment.</p> Lasse Sander, Rune Michaelis, Svenja Papenmeier, Sergey Pravkin, Gesine Mollenhauer, Hendrik Grotheer, Torben Gentz, Karen Helen Wiltshire Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3379 Wed, 20 Nov 2019 08:32:51 -0800 Nitrogen isotope fractionation explains the <sup>15</sup>N enrichment of Antarctic cryptogams by volatilized ammonia from penguin and seal colonies https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3355 <p>Vegetation near bird and seal rookeries typically has high δ<sup>15</sup>N signatures and these high values are linked to the enriched δ<sup>15</sup>N values of rookery soils. However, Antarctic cryptogams are mostly dependent on atmospheric ammonia (NH<sub>3</sub>) and volatized NH<sub>3</sub>&nbsp;from rookeries is severely depleted in δ<sup>15</sup>N-NH<sub>3</sub>. So there is an apparent discrepancy between the isotopically depleted source (NH<sub>3</sub>) and δ<sup>15</sup>N-enriched vegetation. In this article, we aim to resolve this discrepancy to better understand the mechanisms and processes involved in isotopic changes during nitrogen transfer between Antarctic marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Under laboratory conditions, we quantified whether volatized NH<sub>3</sub>&nbsp;affects the isotopic signature of cryptogams. NH<sub>3</sub>&nbsp;volatilizing from penguin guano and elephant seal dung was depleted (44–49‰) in δ<sup>15</sup>N when captured on acidified filters, compared to the source itself. Cryptogams exposed to the volatized NH<sub>3</sub>&nbsp;were enriched (18.8–23.9‰) in δ<sup>15</sup>N. The moss&nbsp;<em>Andreaea regularis</em>&nbsp;gained more nitrogen (0.9%) than the lichen&nbsp;<em>Usnea antarctica</em>&nbsp;(0.4%) from volatilized NH<sub>3</sub>, indicating a potential difference in atmospheric NH<sub>3</sub>&nbsp;acquisition that is consistent with existing field differences in nitrogen concentrations and δ<sup>15</sup>N between mosses and lichens in general. This study clarifies the δ<sup>15</sup>N enrichment of cryptogams resulting from one of the most important nitrogen pathways for Antarctic vegetation.</p> Stef Bokhorst, Richard van Logtestijn, Peter Convey, Rien Aerts Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3355 Tue, 19 Nov 2019 09:11:31 -0800 Cold-seep fossil macrofaunal assemblages from Vestnesa Ridge, eastern Fram Strait, during the past 45 000 years https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3310 <p>Four cores from Vestnesa Ridge on the western Svalbard margin from water depth of 1200 m have been studied. The Vestnesa Ridge is known for the presence of numerous pockmarks and active methane gas seepage is often observed in the form of acoustic gas flares. Three of the cores were collected from a pockmark with active seepage of methane and one core was taken just outside the seepage area for comparison. The cores show a range of influence from methane from no seepage (control core), moderate seepage, strong seepage to very strong seepage. All cores have been analyzed for the distribution of macrofossils, trace fossils, planktic foraminifera, stable isotopes, geochemistry and sedimentology. The main purpose of the study is to improve knowledge about the fossil macrofauna and past methane emissions in the area. The results show a major difference between the fauna recovered from cores taken inside a pockmark with chemosymbiotic bivalves and in some cases with a rich macrofauna&nbsp; and from the core recovered outside the pockmark that contained no macrofauna. The faunal relationships with the sedimentary environments confirm a close connection between the macrofauna and the presence/absence of cold-seepage, particularly seen in the occurrence of chemosymbiotic bivalves <em>Archivesica arctica, Isorropodon nyeggaensis</em>, potentially chemosymbiotic <em>Rhacothyas kolgae </em>and polychaetes. A barren zone in the core that was taken from the deepest part of the pockmark may indicate that a blow-out took place in the late glacial and the deglaciation into the early Holocene at c. 21,000–9000 years.</p> Elsebeth Thomsen, Tine Lander Rasmussen, Kamila Sztybor, Nils-Martin Hanken, Ole Secher Tendal, Alfred Uchman Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3310 Tue, 22 Oct 2019 03:17:53 -0700 Media coverage of mercury contamination in the Canadian Arctic https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3353 <p>Mercury contamination in the Canadian Arctic is a significant concern. Some traditional food sources are contaminated by mercury and pose a health risk to local residents. Media can affect public awareness and opinions of environmental health risks. Therefore, it is important to understand how the risks associated with contaminants are communicated through the media. To better understand how the issue of mercury contamination in the Arctic has been presented in the media, a content analysis was conducted across 14 newspapers in the Canadian North and South. We examined how news sources presented the health risks of mercury in the Arctic, how mercury was defined, if pathways for self-efficacy (i.e., how a person can reduce his or her exposure to a hazard) were provided and who was quoted as an information source. Results demonstrate that few Indigenous people were cited as information sources, articles often failed to describe mercury to the reader and many did not provide direction to support self-efficacy. This study provides insight into how newspapers have communicated about mercury in the Canadian Arctic and suggests specific ways that this communication can be improved.</p> Amanda D. Boyd, Michelle L. Fredrickson, Chris M. Furgal Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3353 Mon, 21 Oct 2019 06:08:47 -0700 Holocene environmental changes in Dicksonfjorden, west Spitsbergen, Svalbard https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3426 <p>Multi-proxy analyses of two sediment cores from Dicksonfjorden were performed to reconstruct Holocene environmental conditions in this northern branch of Isfjorden, the largest fjord system in Svalbard. Factors affecting the depositional processes include shifts in sources of sediments, ice rafting and regional glacio-isostatic rebound. Sediments were derived from Palaeozoic siliciclastics and carbonates occurring at the fjord head and sides, respectively. Their relative contributions were controlled by falling relative sea level and the resulting progradation of the major stream and delta systems closer to the core sites. Deposition of clasts from sea-ice rafting persisted throughout most of the Holocene. Following a period of low, but continuous, clast fluxes (ca. 11 000–7000 calibrated years before the present), ice rafting was most intensive between ca. 7000 and 3000 calibrated years before the present. It can be related to extensive seasonal sea-ice formation caused by regional cooling. The prograding deltas also provided coarse sediments. Reduced ice rafting from ca. 3000 calibrated years before the present suggests enhanced formation of shorefast and/or permanent sea ice, suppressing sea-ice rafting in the fjord, in response to the cool climate and reduced heat flux from Atlantic Water. Episodic inflow of Atlantic Water and low turbidity of surface water can, however, account for a larger amount of marine organic matter produced in the outer fjord. The sedimentary record in Dicksonfjorden, where tidewater glaciers are absent, reflects similar climate and oceanographic variations as reconstructed in fjords on western Spitsbergen that are influenced by tidewater glaciers.</p> Young Ji Joo, Matthias Forwick, Kwangkyu Park, Youngjin Joe, Yeong Ju Son, Seung-Il Nam Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3426 Thu, 26 Sep 2019 05:29:39 -0700 The marine sedimentary environments of Kongsfjorden, Svalbard: an archive of polar environmental change https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3380 <p>Kongsfjorden, a fjord in north-western Svalbard, is characterized by large environmental gradients driven by meltwater processes along the margins of tidewater glaciers and the inflow of relatively warm Atlantic Water, the main heat source for the European Arctic. These factors make Kongsfjorden a key area to investigate changes in the polar climate–ocean–glacier system and to examine the resulting effects on the marine environment. The aim of this paper is to synthesize knowledge about the marine sedimentary environment in Kongsfjorden since the last deglaciation. Fjords act as natural sedimentary traps, archiving information about past and present environmental conditions and changes. Geological studies of Kongsfjorden have demonstrated a good potential for reconstructing palaeoenvironments and establishing baselines values for the natural climate changes in the Arctic. Palaeoceanographic reconstructions reveal rising water temperatures similar to modern temperatures ca. 12 000 years ago. The extent of warm Atlantic Water entering the fjords influences processes at, and the stability of, the margins of the tidewater glaciers. Enhanced inflow may cause accelerated glacial melting that, in consequence, leads to an increase in the sediment flux from the glacial catchments into the fjord, as observed ca. 12 000 years ago and at present. However, responses of sediment flux to modern environmental changes remain poorly understood, hence long-term and monitoring studies are needed to quantify and model the effects of climate warming on the sedimentary environment of Kongsfjorden.</p> Katrine Husum, John A. Howe, Agnes Baltzer, Matthias Forwick, Maria Jensen, Patrycja Jernas, Sergei Korsun, Arto Miettinen, Rahul Mohan, Caterina Morigi, Per Inge Myhre, Maarten A. Prins, Kari Skirbekk, Beata Sternal, Michel Boos, Noortje Dijkstra, Simon Troelstra Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3380 Mon, 16 Sep 2019 04:39:19 -0700 Sedimentology and petrography of the Svenskøya Formation on Hopen, Svalbard: an analogue to sandstone reservoirs in the Realgrunnen Subgroup https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3523 <p>On the island of Hopen, in the Svalbard Archipelago, the Svenskøya Formation is a succession 35 m in thickness, consisting primarily of sandstone beds and forming the youngest strata exposed on the island. We present a sedimentological and petrographic study of the formation and compare the unit with its exposures on Wilhelmøya and in Kong Karls Land, Svalbard. We also compare the onshore characteristics of the Svenskøya Formation with those of the Tubåen Formation, its time-equivalent unit in the Sentralbanken area of the northern Barents Sea. On Hopen, the Svenskøya Formation is interpreted as representing coarse clastic sediments deposited in a fluvial to tidal setting, prior to being overlain by a thin interval composed of tidal channel and marine shale deposits. The unit sits atop the regional “Rhaetian Unconformity” and represents sediments deposited during a regressive system that terminates at a flooding surface representing a local transgression of the palaeo-coastline. Petrographic studies show the formation as being arkosic, both on Hopen and in the Sentralbanken area. The reservoir quality of sandstone samples recovered from Hopen is somewhat lower compared to sandstone reservoirs in the Sentralbanken area. We attribute this to greater effects of diagenesis in the Hopen area, which caused increased compaction, mineral dissolution and extensive precipitation of pore-filling clay minerals.</p> Gareth S. Lord, Mai Britt E. Mørk, Atle Mørk, Snorre Olaussen Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3523 Mon, 02 Sep 2019 13:21:01 -0700 Comparison of snow accumulation events on two High-Arctic glaciers to model-derived and observed precipitation https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3364 <p>We evaluate how precipitation forcing data used in glacier mass balance models characterize snow accumulation events on synoptic timescales for two glaciers in north-western Svalbard (Kongsvegen and Holtedahlfonna). Using sonic ranger (snow depth) and wind speed data from automatic weather stations located on the glaciers, we distinguish accumulation events occurring under either calm or windy conditions. We show clear differences in the timing and magnitude of snow accumulation events between the two neighbouring glaciers, illustrating the spatial heterogeneity of snow accumulation in this region. The accumulation measurements show that at equivalent elevations, Kongsvegen receives more snowfall than neighbouring Holtedahlfonna, and that Kongsvegen is more affected by wind-driven snow redistribution than Holtedahlfonna. This is consistent with the synoptically-driven precipitation patterns in the region. Accumulation events are then compared to precipitation data from the nearest meteorological station in Ny-Ålesund (ca. 30 km distant) and to a downscaled snowfall data product based on the ERA-Interim reanalysis (nearest gridpoint ca. 300 m distant). Evaluation of the synchrony of observed events at the glacier sites and the precipitation products shows that the ERA-Interim precipitation data reproduce more snowfall events than the Ny-Ålesund station data, suggesting that the precipitation fields from distributed reanalysis data provide a more reasonable representation of accumulation on the study glaciers, even over short timescales.</p> Ankit Pramanik, Jack Kohler, Thomas V. Schuler, Ward van Pelt, Lana Cohen Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3364 Fri, 30 Aug 2019 05:01:30 -0700 The life cycle of small- to medium-sized icebergs in the Amundsen Sea Embayment https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3313 <p>An object-based method for automatic iceberg detection has been applied to Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar images in the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE), Antarctica. The images were acquired between 1 January 2006 and 8 April 2012 under varying meteorological, oceanographic and sea-ice conditions. During this time period, the icebergs were counted (average 1370 ± 50) and their surface area was estimated (average 1537.5 km<sup>2</sup>). The average surface area was about 2.5 times larger than the annual calved area (620 km<sup>2</sup>), indicating that the average iceberg age in the ASE is about 2.5 years, which was confirmed by observed residence times based on drift tracks. Most of the ASE icebergs were less than 1500 m long, and almost 90% of them were smaller than 2 km<sup>2</sup>. The proportion of small- and medium-sized icebergs (84.4%) was significantly higher than in the open ocean, where large icebergs (&gt;10 km<sup>2</sup>) account for nearly the whole iceberg surface area. The opposite was true for the freshly calved icebergs in the ASE. The data indicate that the creation of icebergs in the ASE is dominated by steady small- to medium-scale calving from ice shelves fringing the embayment. In addition, rare calving events of giant icebergs occur on a decadal timescale. There is also some import of icebergs from the Bellingshausen Sea further east along the coast, in particular after large calving events there.</p> Aleksandra K. Mazur, Anna K. Wåhlin, Ola Kalén Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3313 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 05:58:20 -0700 Quantifying the relative impact of hunting and oiling on Brünnich’s guillemots in the North-west Atlantic https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3378 <p>Brünnich’s guillemot (<em>Uria lomvia)</em>, or thick-billed murre, is an abundant pan-Arctic seabird, but several Atlantic breeding populations are declining. The species is subject to traditional harvest in the important wintering areas off west Greenland and Newfoundland, and has been subject to chronic oil pollution on the east coast of Canada. Until recently, knowledge of winter distribution has been insufficient to assess the impact of these mortality sources on specific breeding populations. We collate existing information on mortality from bag statistics in Greenland and Canada and studies of oiling off Newfoundland, as well as new data on age distribution in the harvest. Based on the results of recent tracking studies, we construct a spatially explicit population model that allocates hunting and oiling mortality to breeding populations and estimates the relative impact on their growth rate. Results indicate that annual population growth rate is depressed by 0.011–0.041 (approximately 1%–4%) by anthropogenic mortality sources. In addition to affecting local breeders, hunting in Greenland mainly affects declining breeding populations in Svalbard and Iceland, while hunting and oiling in Newfoundland mainly affect guillemots breeding in Arctic Canada and north-west Greenland, where most populations are relatively stable. The strongest relative impact is predicted on the small breeding population in Atlantic Canada, which winters mainly on the Newfoundland Shelf and therefore is exposed to both hunting and oiling. Our results clarify the relationships between hunting in Greenland and Canada and growth of specific breeding populations, and thus have major implications for harvest management of guillemots.</p> Morten Frederiksen, Jannie F. Linnebjerg, Flemming R. Merkel, Sabina I. Wilhelm, Gregory J. Robertson Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3378 Tue, 06 Aug 2019 10:53:29 -0700 Distribution and environmental correlations of picoeukaryotes in an Arctic fjord (Kongsfjorden, Svalbard) during the summer https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3390 <p>Picoeukaryotes are numerous in the summer in the High-Arctic fjord Kongsfjorden, in western Spitsbergen, Svalbard. However, little research has been conducted on the community structure and diversity of picoeukaryotes. We conducted a detailed investigation of the distribution and environmental correlations of picoeukaryotes in Kongsfjorden in July 2012, using 454-pyrosequencing of 18S rDNA and redundant analysis. Eight classes were classified with proportions larger than 1%. These were Mamiellophyceae, Chrysophyceae, Spirotrichea, Telonemea, Cryptophyceae, Bolidophyceae, Picomonadea and Dictyochophyceae. Five genera were classified, with&nbsp;<em>Micromonas</em>&nbsp;(55.6%) and&nbsp;<em>Bathycoccus</em>&nbsp;(7.8%) as the dominant genera. The diversity and composition of the picoeukaryote community were very distinct in different water masses sampled in the water column (i.e., vertically), but were not distinct from station to station (i.e., horizontally). Biodiversity was greater in the Atlantic waters than in glacial waters. Mamiellophyceae, Bolidophyceae, Picomonadea and Dictyochophyceae had significantly different distributions (<em>p</em>&nbsp;&lt; 0.01) in the three water masses (surface water, intermediate water and transformed Atlantic Water). Nitrogen, salinity and temperature were the first three primary environmental factors shaping the community structure of picoeukaryotes.</p> Fang Zhang, Shunan Cao, Yuan Gao, Jianfeng He Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3390 Mon, 05 Aug 2019 13:58:49 -0700 Two species of Lumbricillus (Enchytraeidae, Annelida) new to Antarctica https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3325 <p>The intertidal fauna of the Antarctic Peninsula has a relatively high species diversity, due to its warmer environment compared to other parts of Antarctica. Marine oligochaetes are, in general, one of the most diverse and ecologically important benthic organism groups, at least in the littoral zone. Antarctica has been one of the least studied areas with regard to oligochaete diversity. Here we report two&nbsp;<em>Lumbricillus</em>&nbsp;species (<em>Lumbricillus antarcticus</em>&nbsp;Stephenson, 1932 and&nbsp;<em>Lumbricillus sejongensis</em>&nbsp;sp. nov.) new to Antarctica, found in a tidal pool on the Barton Peninsula, King George Island. The diversity of this genus remains poorly known for Antarctica and the Subantarctic islands, and what we know is based on a few patchy studies.</p> Jeounghee Lee, Mårten J. Klinth, Jongwoo Jung Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3325 Fri, 12 Jul 2019 03:17:11 -0700 Giles Land—a mystery for S.A. Andrée and other early Arctic explorers https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3433 <p>After the initial discovery of Giles Land (Kvitøya, Svalbard) by Cornelis Giles in 1707, it was most likely never seen by anyone again until 1876. During this lengthy period, Giles Land evolved into an enigma as various explorers and cartographers came to very different conclusions about its probable location, character or even existence. In 1897, when the engineer Salomon August Andrée tried to return over the ice after his failed attempt to reach the North Pole in a balloon, he passed through an area approximately 160 km north of Kvitøya where Giles Land was indicated on his map. Andrée searched for it, but there was no land in sight. The main reason why Giles Land was erroneously positioned too far north was a conjecture by a German cartographer August Petermann in 1872. While there was some distrust of Petermann’s conjecture at the time, many also believed it. The erroneous understanding that Giles Land was located far north of Kvitøya was only finally dismissed in the 1930s. This article examines how this misunderstanding regarding the identity and location of Giles Land could arise and become entrenched.</p> Björn Lantz Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3433 Mon, 01 Jul 2019 04:40:51 -0700 Surface heat budget in the Southern Ocean from 42°S to the Antarctic marginal ice zone: four atmospheric reanalyses versus icebreaker <em>Aurora Australis</em> measurements https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3349 <p>Surface heat fluxes from four atmospheric reanalyses in the Southern Ocean are evaluated using air–sea measurements obtained from the&nbsp;<em>Aurora Australis</em>&nbsp;during off-winter seasons in 2010–12. The icebreaker tracked between Hobart, Tasmania (ca. 42°S), and the Antarctic continent, providing in situ benchmarks for the surface energy budget change in the Subantarctic Southern Ocean (58–42°S) and the eastern Antarctic marginal ice zone (MIZ, 68–58°S). We find that the reanalyses show a high-level agreement among themselves, but this agreement reflects a universal bias, not a “truth.” Downward shortwave radiation (SW↓) is overestimated (warm biased) and downward longwave radiation (LW↓) is underestimated (cold biased), an indication that the cloud amount in all models is too low. The ocean surface in both regimes shows a heat gain from the atmosphere when averaged over the seven months (October–April). However, the ocean heat gain in reanalyses is overestimated by 10–36 W m<sup>−2</sup>&nbsp;(80–220%) in the MIZ but underestimated by 6–20 W m<sup>−2</sup>&nbsp;(7–25%) in the Subantarctic. The biases in SW↓ and LW↓ cancel out each other in the MIZ, causing the surface heat budget to be dictated by the underestimation bias in sensible heat loss. These reanalyses biases affect the surface energy budget in the Southern Ocean by meaningfully affecting the timing of the seasonal transition from net heat gain to net heat loss at the surface and the relative strength of SW↓ at different regimes in summer, when the length-of-day effect can lead to increased SW↓ at high latitudes.</p> Lisan Yu, Xiangze Jin, Eric W. Schulz Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3349 Fri, 28 Jun 2019 06:22:37 -0700 Arctic fox dispersal from Svalbard to Canada: one female’s long run across sea ice https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3512 <p>We report the first satellite tracking of natal dispersal by an Arctic fox (<em>Vulpes lagopus</em>) between continents and High-Arctic ecosystems. A young female left Spitsbergen (Svalbard Archipelago, Norway) on 26 March 2018 and reached Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, 76 days later, after travelling a cumulative distance of 3506 km, bringing her ca. 1789 km away (straight-line distance) from her natal area. The total cumulative distance travelled during the entire tracking period, starting when she left her natal area on 1 March 2018 and ending when she settled on Ellesmere Island on 1 July 2018, was 4415 km. This is among the longest dispersal events ever recorded for an Arctic fox. Crossing extensive stretches of sea ice and glaciers, the female moved at an average rate of 46.3 km/day ± 41.1 SD. The maximum movement rate was 155 km/day and occurred on the ice sheet in northern Greenland. This is the fastest movement rate recorded for this species. The northernmost location recorded was on the sea ice off northern Greenland at a latitude of 84.7°N. The Arctic fox was of the blue colour morph typical for coastal environments, where Arctic foxes are adapted to food webs without lemmings but with substantial inputs of marine food resources. The Arctic fox settled on Ellesmere Island in a food web with lemmings, thereby switching ecosystems. Our observation supports evidence of gene flow across Arctic regions, including those seasonally bridged by sea ice, found in studies of the circumpolar genetic structure of Arctic fox populations.</p> <p>View the <strong><a href="https://figshare.com/articles/Large-scale_dispersal_movement_of_a_young_polar_fox_across_the_Arctic/8288159/1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">supplementary animation</a></strong>.</p> <p>This article has a related <strong><a href="https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3646">Erratum</a></strong>.</p> Eva Fuglei, Arnaud Tarroux Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3512 Mon, 24 Jun 2019 23:50:14 -0700 High-Arctic nesting geese occupying less favourable nest sites are more vulnerable to predation https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3352 <p>In a simple, rodent-free Arctic ecosystem in Svalbard, we assessed the nest-site characteristics of the main (and highly abundant) migratory herbivore—pink-footed geese (<em>Anser brachyrhynchus</em>)—to determine which nesting geese were preferentially attacked and killed by the only local predator of adult geese, the Arctic fox (<em>Vulpes lagopus</em>). We collected data on goose carcasses and nest-site characteristics at one of the main pink-footed goose breeding areas in Svalbard. Arctic foxes depredated adult pink-footed geese from just over a quarter of the unsuccessful nests in the colony and carcasses were generally found just under 10 m away from a nest. Geese that occupied nests of poorer quality (limited visibility, further distance to forage patches and situated on flatter slopes) and were less well established (indicated by the low degree of fertilization from accumulations of goose droppings) were more likely to be depredated by Arctic foxes. As geese show a high degree of nest-site fidelity and preferentially occupy nests with better protection against depredation and closer to feeding areas, we propose that Arctic foxes targeted, and were more successful in killing younger, more inexperienced or low-quality geese that occupied less favourable nest sites.</p> Helen B. Anderson, Eva Fuglei, Jesper Madsen, René van der Wal Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3352 Tue, 18 Jun 2019 03:32:06 -0700 Seasonal dynamics of the marine CO<sub>2</sub> system in Adventfjorden, a west Spitsbergen fjord https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3345 <p>Time series of the marine CO<sub>2</sub>&nbsp;system and related parameters at the IsA Station, by Adventfjorden, Svalbard, were investigated between March 2015 and November 2017. The physical and biogeochemical processes that govern changes in total alkalinity (TA), total dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and the saturation state of the calcium carbonate mineral aragonite (Ω<sub>Ar</sub>) were assessed on a monthly timescale. The major driver for TA and DIC was changes in salinity, caused by river runoff, mixing and advection. This accounted for 77 and 45%, respectively, of the overall variability. It contributed minimally to the variability in Ω<sub>Ar</sub>&nbsp;(5%); instead, biological activity was responsible for 60% of the monthly variations. For DIC, the biological activity was also important, contributing 44%. The monthly effect of air–sea CO<sub>2</sub>&nbsp;fluxes accounted for 11 and 15% of the total changes in DIC and Ω<sub>Ar</sub>, respectively. Net community production (NCP) during the productive season ranged between 65 and 85 g C m<sup>−2</sup>, depending on the year and the presence of either Arctic water or transformed Atlantic water (TAW). The annual NCP as estimated from DIC consumption was 34 g C m<sup>−2</sup>&nbsp;yr<sup>−1</sup>&nbsp;in 2016, which was opposite in direction but similar in magnitude to the integrated annual air–sea CO<sub>2</sub>&nbsp;flux (i.e., uptake of carbon from the atmosphere) of −29 g C m<sup>−2</sup>&nbsp;yr<sup>−1</sup>&nbsp;for the same year. The results showed that increased intrusions of TAW into Adventfjorden in the future could possibly lower the NCP, with the potential to reduce the CO<sub>2</sub>buffer capacity and Ω<sub>Ar</sub>&nbsp;over the summer season.</p> Ylva Ericson, Melissa Chierici, Eva Falck, Agneta Fransson, Elizabeth Jones, Svein Kristiansen Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3345 Tue, 11 Jun 2019 09:20:34 -0700 Well drilling in permafrost regions: dynamics of the thawed zone https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3351 <p>In the cold regions, warm mud is usually used to drill deep wells. This mud causes formation thawing around wells, and as a rule is an uncertain parameter. For frozen soils, ice serves as a cementing material, so the strength of frozen soils is significantly reduced at the ice–water transition. If the thawing soil cannot withstand the load of overlying layers, consolidation will take place, and the corresponding settlement can cause significant surface shifts. Therefore, for long-term drilling or oil/gas production, the radius of thawing should be estimated to predict platform stability and the integrity of the well. It is known that physical properties of formations are drastically changed at the thawing–freezing transition. When interpreting geophysical logs, it is therefore important to know the radius of thawing and its dynamics during drilling and shut-in periods. We have shown earlier that for a cylindrical system the position of the phase interface in the Stefan problem can be approximated through two functions: one function determines the position of the melting-temperature isotherm in the problem without phase transitions, and the second function does not depend on time. For the drilling period, we will use this approach to estimate the radius of thawing. For the shut-in period, we will utilize an empirical equation based on the results of numerical modelling.</p> Lev V. Eppelbaum, Izzy M. Kutasov Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3351 Wed, 05 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 Dynamics and persistence of rabies in the Arctic https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3366 <p>Rabies is a major issue for human and animal health in the Arctic, yet little is known about its epidemiology. In particular, there is an ongoing debate regarding how Arctic rabies persists in its primary reservoir host, the Arctic fox (<em>Vulpes lagopus</em>), which exists in the ecosystem at very low population densities. To shed light on the mechanisms of rabies persistence in the Arctic, we built a susceptible–exposed–infectious–recovered (SEIR) epidemiological model of rabies virus transmission in an Arctic fox population interacting with red foxes (<em>Vulpes vulpes</em>), a rabies host that is increasingly present in the Arctic. The model suggests that rabies cannot be maintained in resource-poor areas of the Arctic, characterized by low Arctic fox density, even in the presence of continuous reintroduction of the virus by infected Arctic foxes from neighbouring regions. However, in populations of relatively high Arctic fox density, rabies persists under conditions of higher transmission rate, prolonged infectious period and for a broad range of incubation periods. Introducing the strong cyclical dynamics of Arctic prey availability makes simulated rabies outbreaks less regular but more intense, with an onset that does not neatly track peaks in Arctic fox density. Finally, interaction between Arctic and red foxes increases the frequency and/or the intensity of rabies outbreaks in the Arctic fox population. Our work suggests that disruption of prey cycles and increasing interactions between Arctic and red foxes due to climate change and northern development may significantly change the epidemiology of rabies across the Arctic.</p> Audrey Simon, Olivia Tardy, Amy Hurford, Nicolas Lecomte, Denise Bélanger, Patrick Leighton Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3366 Wed, 05 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 A nematode in the mist: <em>Scottnema lindsayae</em> is the only soil metazoan in remote Antarctic deserts, at greater densities with altitude https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3494 <p>A decrease in biodiversity and density of terrestrial organisms with increasing altitude and latitude is a well-known ecogeographical pattern. However, studies of these trends are often taxonomically-biased toward well-known organisms and especially those with relatively large bodies, and environmental variability at the local scale may perturb these general effects. Here, we focus on understudied organisms—soil invertebrates—in Antarctic deserts, which are among the driest and coldest places on Earth. We sampled two remote Antarctic sites in the Darwin Glacier area and established an altitudinal gradient running from 210 to 836 m a.s.l. We measured soil geochemistry and organic matter content and linked these parameters with the presence of soil invertebrates. We found three general outcomes, two of which are consistent with general assumptions: (a) the hostile climatic condition of the Darwin Glacier region supports an extremely low diversity of soil metazoans represented by a single nematode species—<em>Scottnema lindsayae</em>; (b) soil geochemistry is the main factor influencing distribution of nematodes at the local scale. Contrary to our expectations, a positive correlation was found between nematode density and altitude. This last observation could be explained by an additional effect of soil moisture as we found this increased with altitude and may be caused by orographic clouds, which are present in this region. To the best of our knowledge such effects have been described in tropical and temperate regions. Potential effect of orographic clouds on soil properties in polar deserts may be a fruitful area of ecological research on soil fauna.</p> Krzysztof Zawierucha, Craig J. Marshall, David Wharton, Karel Janko Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3494 Tue, 07 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 Freshwater input to the Arctic fjord Hornsund (Svalbard) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3506 <p>Glaciers draining to the Hornsund basin (southern Spitsbergen, Svalbard) have experienced a significant retreat and mass volume loss over the last decades, increasing the input of freshwater into the fjord. An increase in freshwater input can influence fjord hydrology, hydrodynamics, sediment flux and biota, especially in a changing climate. Here, we describe the sources of freshwater supply to the fjord based on glaciological and meteorological data from the period 2006 to 2015. The average freshwater input from land to the Hornsund bay is calculated as 2517 ± 82 Mt a<sup>−1</sup>, with main contributions from glacier meltwater runoff (986 Mt a<sup>−1</sup>; 39%) and frontal ablation of tidewater glaciers (634 Mt a<sup>−1</sup>; 25%). Tidewater glaciers in Hornsund lose ca. 40% of their mass by frontal ablation. The terminus retreat component accounts for ca. 30% of the mass loss by frontal ablation, but it can vary between 17% and 44% depending on oceanological, meteorological and geomorphological factors. The contribution of the total precipitation over land excluding winter snowfall (520 Mt a<sup>−1</sup>), total precipitation over the fjord area (180 Mt a<sup>−1</sup>) and melting of the snow cover over unglaciated areas (197 Mt a<sup>−1</sup>) to the total freshwater input appear to be small: 21%, 7% and 8%, respectively.</p> Małgorzata Błaszczyk, Dariusz Ignatiuk, Aleksander Uszczyk, Katarzyna Cielecka-Nowak, Mariusz Grabiec, Jacek A. Jania, Mateusz Moskalik, Waldemar Walczowski Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3506 Tue, 16 Apr 2019 11:01:27 -0700 Groundwater discharge to the western Antarctic coastal ocean https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3497 <p>Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) measurements have been limited along the Antarctic coast, although groundwater discharge is becoming recognized as an important process in the Antarctic. Quantifying this meltwater pathway is important for hydrologic budgets, ice mass balances and solute delivery to the coastal ocean. Here, we estimate the combined discharge of subglacial and submarine groundwater to the Antarctic coastal ocean. SGD, including subglacial and submarine groundwater, is quantified along the WAP at the Marr Glacier terminus using the activities of naturally occurring radium isotopes (<sup>223</sup>Ra,&nbsp;<sup>224</sup>Ra). Estimated SGD fluxes from a&nbsp;<sup>224</sup>Ra mass balance ranged from (0.41 ± 0.14)×10<sup>4</sup>&nbsp;and (8.2 ± 2.3)×10<sup>4</sup>m<sup>3</sup>&nbsp;d<sup>−1</sup>. Using a salinity mass balance, we estimate SGD contributes up to 32% of the total freshwater to the coastal environment near Palmer Station. This study suggests that a large portion of the melting glacier may be infiltrating into the bedrock and being discharged to coastal waters along the WAP. Meltwater infiltrating as groundwater at glacier termini is an important solute delivery mechanism to the nearshore environment that can influence biological productivity. More importantly, quantifying this meltwater pathway may be worthy of attention when predicting future impacts of climate change on retreat of tidewater glaciers.</p> Kimberly A. Null, D. Reide Corbett, Jared Crenshaw, Richard N. Peterson, Leigha E. Peterson, W. Berry Lyons Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3497 Thu, 04 Apr 2019 03:46:43 -0700 Distribution and fluxes of dissolved organic carbon in the Arctic Ocean https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3500 <p>Dissolved organic carbon, from marine biota excretions and decomposing detritus, is one of the main components of the carbon cycle in the ocean. In this study, an attempt was made to construct maps of the distribution and fluxes of DOC in the Arctic Ocean and the exchanges with the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Because of the limited data available a multiple linear regression technique was performed to identify significant relationships between DOC (2200 samples) and hydrologic parameters (temperature and salinity), as well as depth, horizon, latitude and offshore distance. Mapping of the DOC distribution and its fluxes was carried out at 38 horizons from 5 to 4150 m depth (resolution 1°×1°). Data on temperature, salinity and meridional and zonal components of current velocities were obtained from the Ocean Re-Analysis System 4 (ORAS4) database. All these parameters were averaged for the June–October period, the season of water sampling. The import of DOC in the Arctic Ocean is estimated to be 206 ± 17Tg C yr<sup>−1</sup>, and the export is 194 ± 23Tg C yr<sup>−1</sup>, so the import–export is balanced within the errors.</p> Alexander Vetrov, Evgeny Romankevich Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3500 Fri, 29 Mar 2019 07:00:29 -0700 Diversity and community structure of bacterioplankton in surface waters off the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3491 <p>Global climate change is significantly affecting marine life off the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, but little is known about microbial ecology in this area. The main goal of this study was to investigate the bacterioplankton community structure in surface waters using pyrosequencing and to determine factors influencing this community. Pelagibacterales and Rhodobacterales (Alphaproteobacteria), Oceanospirillales and Alteromonadales (Gammaproteobacteria), and Flavobacteriales (Bacteroidetes) were the core taxa in our samples, and the five most relatively abundant genera were&nbsp;<em>Pelagibacter</em>,&nbsp;<em>Polaribacter</em>,&nbsp;<em>Octadecabacter</em>, group HTCC2207 and&nbsp;<em>Sulfitobacter</em>. Although nutrients and chlorophyll&nbsp;<em>a</em>&nbsp;(chl&nbsp;<em>a</em>) contributed more to bacterioplankton community structure than water masses or depth, only 30.39% of the variance could be explained by the investigated environmental factors, as revealed by RDA and pRDA. No significant difference with respect to nutrients and chl&nbsp;<em>a</em>&nbsp;was observed among water masses or depth, as indicated by ANOVA. Furthermore, significant correlations among the dominant bacterial genera were more common than correlations between dominant genera and environmental factors, as revealed by Spearman analysis. We conclude that nutrients and chl&nbsp;<em>a</em>&nbsp;become homogeneous and that interpopulation interactions may have a central role in influencing the bacterial community structure in surface waters off the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula during the summer.</p> Shunan Cao, Jianfeng He, Fang Zhang, Ling Lin, Yuan Gao, Qiming Zhou Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3491 Thu, 21 Mar 2019 07:26:10 -0700 Summer habitat selection by ringed seals (<em>Pusa hispida</em>) in the drifting sea ice of the northern Barents Sea https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3483 <p>Ringed seals are a central component of the Arctic ecosystem; they have a circumpolar distribution and are both important predators of lower trophic animals (invertebrates and fishes) and prey for polar bears and coastal human populations. They depend on sea ice for reproduction, moulting and resting, and they consume significant amounts of ice-associated prey. The population of ringed seals in Svalbard, Norway, uses both coastal and offshore habitats, the latter being important during seasonal migrations undertaken by some animals, mostly juveniles. This study examined habitat preferences of 18 satellite-tracked ringed seals (mostly young animals, but also a few adults) during late summer/autumn migrations to the drift ice in the northern Barents Sea. Resource selection functions showed that ringed seals preferred being close to the 50% sea-ice concentration threshold; a 120 km increase in the distance to the 50% sea-ice concentration threshold halved the probability of selection of a given area. In addition, higher sea-ice concentrations (80–100%) were between 1.4 and 2.2 times as likely to be selected as lower sea-ice concentrations or open water. Ringed seals use the marginal ice zone of the Barents Sea during summer/autumn. This offshore habitat has shifted northward during recent decades, which is likely causing negative effects on ringed seals by increasing the energetic cost of offshore migrations.</p> Karen Lone, Charmain D. Hamilton, Jon Aars, Christian Lydersen, Kit M. Kovacs Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3483 Wed, 13 Mar 2019 06:05:17 -0700 A multi-year study of narwhal occurrence in the western Fram Strait—detected via passive acoustic monitoring https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3468 <p>Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) has proven to be an efficient method for studying vocally active marine mammals in areas that are difficult to access on a year-round basis. In this study, a PAM recorder was deployed on an oceanographic mooring in western Fram Strait (78°50'N, 5°W) to record the acoustic presence of narwhals (<em>Monodon monoceros</em>) over a 3-yr period. Acoustic data were recorded for 14–17 min at the start of each hour from 25 September 2010 to 26 August 2011, from 2 September 2012 to 11 April 2013 and from 8 September 2013 to 27 April 2014. Pulsed and tonal signals, as well as echolocation clicks, were detected throughout the recording periods, demonstrating that this species is present in this region throughout the year. Generalized linear mixed-effect models showed a negative correlation between the acoustic presence of narwhals and very dense sea-ice cover (≥90%). Surprisingly, a positive correlation was found between the acoustic presence of narwhals and the presence of warm Atlantic Water in the area. Available data suggest that there might be a unique stock of narwhals in the Eurasian sector of the Atlantic Arctic that do not exhibit the “traditional” narwhal pattern of seasonal migration between coastal summering areas and offshore wintering grounds, but rather remain resident year-round in deep, offshore waters.</p> Heidi Ahonen, Kathleen M. Stafford, Christian Lydersen, Laura de Steur, Kit M. Kovacs Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3468 Wed, 06 Mar 2019 03:23:37 -0800 <em>Pseudolamarckina pseudorjasanensis </em>Dain, 1967 (Foraminifera) as a Kimmeridgian marker species and its significance for biostratigraphy, palaeoecology and palaeobiogeography https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3461 <p>This study presents a taxonomical review of the species&nbsp;<em>Pseudolamarckina pseudorjasanensis</em>&nbsp;Dain, 1967 collected at different sampling levels from the central and northern parts of European Russia and from Western Siberia. Morphological and biometrical analyses show that&nbsp;<em>P. pseudorjasanensis</em>&nbsp;is characterized by wide intraspecific variabilities and may encompass various previously described Kimmeridgian species of the genus&nbsp;<em>Pseudolamarckina</em>. The first appearance of&nbsp;<em>P. pseudorjasanensis</em>&nbsp;is recorded from the latest Early Kimmeridgian of sub-Mediterranean to Arctic regions. Furthermore,&nbsp;<em>P. pseudorjasanensis</em>&nbsp;appears to be the marker species of the foraminiferal JF41 Zone in Kimmeridgian sections of sub-boreal, boreal and Arctic regions. This JF41 Zone is particularly significant for interregional correlations. Finally,&nbsp;<em>P. pseudorjasanensis</em>&nbsp;was widespread across the Kimmeridgian basins of the Northern Hemisphere and was associated with environments predominantly located in the middle sublittoral zone.</p> Clémentine Peggy Anne-Marie Colpaert, Boris Leonidovich Nikitenko Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3461 Tue, 05 Mar 2019 02:45:35 -0800 Incomplete degradation of lichen usnic acid and atranorin in Svalbard reindeer (<em>Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus</em>) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3375 <p>Previous studies of Eurasian tundra reindeer (<em>Rangifer tarandus tarandus</em>) in Norway indicate that their rumen microbiota play a key role in degrading lichen secondary metabolites. We investigated the presence of usnic acid and atranorin in faecal samples from Svalbard reindeer&nbsp;<em>(R. tarandus platyrhynchus</em>). Samples were collected in Bolterdalen valley together with vegetation samples from the study site. The mesic tundra in this area was dominated by vascular plants (59% of vegetation cover). Bryophytes (16%) and lichens (25%) were also present. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of usnic acid and atranorin in lichen and faeces samples were performed using high-performance liquid chromatography. Contents of atranorin averaged 12.49 ± 0.41 mg g<sup>–1</sup>in the thalli of&nbsp;<em>Stereocaulon alpinum</em>, while the average level of usnic acid was lowest in&nbsp;<em>Cladonia mitis</em>&nbsp;(12.75 ± 2.86 mg g<sup>–1</sup>) and highest in&nbsp;<em>Flavocetraria cucullata</em>&nbsp;(34.87 ± 0.47 mg g<sup>–1</sup>). Atranorin and usnic acid were detected in the faecal samples, averaging 0.41 ± 0.53 and 0.74 ± 1.11 (mean ± SD) mg g<sup>–1</sup>&nbsp;dry matter, respectively. The presence of lichen secondary compounds in faeces from Svalbard reindeer shows that lichens are indeed included in their diet, although probably in small amounts because of depleted pastures. Contrary to previous findings in reindeer on mainland Norway, atranorin and usnic acid are not completely degraded or absorbed in Svalbard reindeer. To elucidate the mechanisms behind detoxification of lichen secondary compounds in reindeer, more research is needed on their respective rumen microbiomes and digestive enzymes.</p> Michał Hubert Węgrzyn, Paulina Wietrzyk-Pełka, Agnieszka Galanty, Beata Cykowska-Marzencka, Monica Alterskjær Sundset Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3375 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 03:32:48 -0800 A gloomy future for light-bellied brent geese in Tusenøyane, Svalbard, under a changing predator regime https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3393 <p>The endangered population of light-bellied brent geese (<em>Branta bernicla hrota</em>) breeding in Svalbard and north-east Greenland used to have its core breeding area in the archipelago of Tusenøyane in south-east Svalbard. Studies carried out during 1987–1991 showed that the Tusenøyane population was subject to heavy egg predation by polar bears and, in one year, Arctic foxes. Revisiting some key nesting islands in August 2018, we found few nests used by brent geese and no families. The high density of common scurvygrass (<em>Cochlearia officinalis</em>), a food favoured by brent geese and therefore formerly depleted by them, indicates that the geese have been absent for some time. Among other bird species, such as barnacle goose and common eider, very few young were observed as well. As potential predators, polar bears, or signs of their recent presence, were observed on most islands, and great skuas occurred on almost all islands, with 60 individuals on Lurøya, formerly an important island for geese. In contrast, only a single pair of great skuas was observed 30 years ago. The observations suggest that recent expansion of great skuas in the North Atlantic, including Svalbard, has led to a novel extreme predation pressure, additional to that caused by mammalian predators. Despite the loss of Tusenøyane as a breeding ground, the population of brent geese has increased in recent decades; so we can infer that the population now recruits from remote but mainly unknown breeding grounds.</p> Jesper Madsen, Cornelia Jaspers, John Frikke, Ove M. Gundersen, Bart A. Nolet, Koen Nolet, Kees H.T. Schreven, Christian Sonne, Peter de Vries Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3393 Thu, 27 Jun 2019 04:49:22 -0700 A note on digital elevation model smoothing and driving stresses https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3498 <p>Ice-flow fields, including the driving stress, provide important information on the current state and evolution of Antarctic and Greenland ice-sheet dynamics. However, computation of flow fields from continent-scale DEMs requires the use of smoothing functions and scales, the choice of which can be ad hoc. This study evaluates smoothing functions and scales for robust calculations of driving stress from Antarctic DEMs. Our approach compares a variety of filters and scales for their capacity to minimize the residual between predicted and observed flow direction fields. We find that a spatially varying triangular filter with a width of 8–10 ice thicknesses provides the closest match between the observed and predicted flow direction fields. We use the predicted flow direction fields to highlight artefacts in observed Antarctic velocities, demonstrating that comparison of multiple observational data sets has utility for quality control of continent-scale data sets.</p> Felicity S. McCormack, Jason L. Roberts, Lenneke M. Jong, Duncan A. Young, Lucas H. Beem Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3498 Thu, 28 Mar 2019 07:19:27 -0700 First evidence of a tetrapod footprint from the Triassic of northern Victoria Land, Antarctica https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3438 <p>Here, we report on a tetrapod footprint from the Transantarctic Basin in the far north of Victoria Land, which marks the first record of terrestrial vertebrates for this region. The single specimen derives from a previously unknown lithological unit of Middle or Late Triassic age of the Beacon Supergroup in the Helliwell Hills in the central Rennick Glacier area. It differs in both size and morphology clearly from Middle Triassic trackway types from the upper Fremouw Formation of the Queen Alexandra Range in southern Victoria Land, and likely represents a primitive amniote, procolophonid or therapsid. The footprint is the third evidence of fossil vertebrate trackways in Antarctica.</p> Thomas Mörs, Grzegorz Niedźwiedzki, Laura Crispini, Andreas Läufer, Benjamin Bomfleur Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3438 Thu, 14 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 Review of The life of José María Sobral: scientist, diarist, and pioneer in Antarctica, by Mary R. Tahan (2018). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. 336 pp. ISBN 978-3-319-67267-0. https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3756 Pat Millar Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3756 Thu, 19 Dec 2019 02:18:54 -0800 Review of The Arctic, by Richard Sale & Per Michelsen (2018). Dunbeath: Whittles Publishing Ltd. 364 pp. ISBN 978-1-84995-342-9. https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3748 Stein Ø. Nilsen Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3748 Tue, 19 Nov 2019 08:24:16 -0800 Review of <em>Four Antarctic years in the South Orkney Islands: an annotated translation of Cuatro años en las Orcadas del Sur</em>, by Jose Manuel Moneta (2017). London: Bernard Quaritch. 440 pp. ISBN 978-0-9955192-0-6. https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3482 Adrian Howkins Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3482 Tue, 05 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0800 Review of <em>The spectral Arctic: a history of dreams and ghosts in polar exploration</em> by Shane McCorristine (2018). London: University College London Press. 265 pp. ISBN 978-1-78735-246-9. https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3376 <p>(No abstract available)</p> Dianne Chisholm Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3376 Mon, 21 Jan 2019 04:51:24 -0800 E. Fuglei & A. Tarroux. Arctic fox dispersal from Svalbard to Canada: one female’s long run across sea ice. https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3646 <p>This Erratum relates to the following article:</p> <p>E. Fuglei &amp; A. Tarroux. Arctic fox dispersal from Svalbard to Canada: one female’s long run across sea ice.&nbsp;<em>Polar Research</em>&nbsp;2019,&nbsp;<em>38</em>, 3512,<strong>&nbsp;<a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.33265/polar.v38.3512" target="_base">http://dx.doi.org/10.33265/polar.v38.3512</a></strong></p> <p>The following error requires a correction in the above referenced article (page 4, left column, second paragraph):</p> <p>“When travelling on sea ice, her average movement rate was 34.0 km/day (95% confidence interval = 16.5–51.5) (Fig. 3), suggesting that sea ice was used predominantly as a platform for dispersal, rather than as a foraging habitat.”</p> <p>This has now been changed to read as follows:</p> <p>“Her average movement rate was higher by 34.0 km/day (95% CI: 16.5–51.5) when travelling on sea ice than when travelling on land (Fig. 3), suggesting that sea ice was used predominantly as a platform for dispersal, rather than as a foraging habitat.”</p> <p>This correction does not change the interpretation of the results.</p> <p>The editorial office regrets the error.</p> Copyright (c) https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/3646 Fri, 26 Jul 2019 13:07:33 -0700