Update on Canadian Arctic GEOTRACES 2015: Diverted for icebreaking

By Jay T. Cullen

This short post is to update interested readers on the progress of our research program investigating the impacts of climate change on the chemistry, physics and biology of the Canadian Arctic Ocean. On July 19, just before we were to cross the Arctic Circle in the northern Labrador Sea, the icebreaker CCGS Amundsen was diverted from its scientific mission to break ice and escort merchant vessels that resupply northern communities along the eastern shore of Hudson Bay. This is the first time in 13 years that the ship has been called off scientific work for icebreaking. While the resupply mission is important the scientific party is frustrated and disappointed that our long planned research expedition has been delayed. At this point we are not sure exactly when we will return to science and how much impact this delay will have on planned work. The diversion of our vessel to support resupply of Northern Communities highlights the competing pressures placed on the Canadian Coast Guard and the need for more resources if Canada values the health and well being of its residents and climate change research.

The Canadian press has been covering this story. If you are interested you can read Mark Hume’s story in the Globe and Mail here. I was interviewed by Laura Lynch of CBC Radio’s As It Happens this week as well. You can listen below or follow this link in case of plug-in compatibility issues.

http://www.cbc.ca/i/caffeine/syndicate/?mediaId=2672328797

In Case You’re Interested (ICYI) here are some photos of the area.

We are currently just south of 60N near the community of Akulivik.

An article by David Murphy of the Nunatsiaq News provides some additional perspective.

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