Winter Gaps Joint Cruise 3

Angelika Renner
Institute of Marine Research

Rolf Gradinger
UiT The Arctic University of Norway

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The Nansen Legacy Winter Gaps Joint Cruise 3 aimed to fill gaps following the earlier NL cruises, in particular during the winter-to-spring transition and in the northern part of the Nansen Legacy transect to the Nansen Basin. Joint physical, chemical, and biological sampling and experiments for new technology addressed aims of Research focus ‘Physical drivers’, ‘Human impact’, ‘The living Barents Sea’ and of Research Activity ‘Technology and method development’.

Sampling began in the Atlantic domain of the Barents Sea with a process station at P1. Afterwards, the cruise focused on the northern Barents Sea around and north of Kvitøya covering process stations at P5, P7 and between Nord Austlandet and Kvitøya. Process stations lasted from 29 to 68 hours to enable observation of at least one daily cycle in the under-ice water layer. Ice conditions varied but consisted mostly of extensive but thin first-year ice, often as small floes that were frozen together. In the northernmost region, the floes were larger, but the ice remained thin. Despite a fair amount of daylight available, the biological sampling seemed to indicate that the ecosystem was still in winter mode.

In addition to the process stations, the northern part of the Nansen Legacy main transect was covered from the shelf north of Kvitøya into the deeper Nansen Basin. This included mainly hydrographic measurements and chemical sampling along the entire transect, biological sampling at process station P6, and benthic sampling at selected depths from shelf over slope to deep. In the entire region, warm Atlantic water was prominent and close to the surface, potentially explaining the lack of thick sea ice and the late ice formation.
Before and after the main cruise program, several gliders were recovered.

19. February – 11. March 2022

northwestern Barents Sea, Kvitøya, Nansen Basin