Planning Underway for U.S. Arctic GEOTRACES Initiative

The U.S. GEOTRACES Science Steering Committee (SSC) has launched a planning effort for a U.S. Arctic GEOTRACES initiative to help characterize and understand regional biogeochemical changes associated with rapid climate change. The initiative includes a cruise, which is tentatively planned for 2015. The SSC has scheduled several informational meetings to update the community on the planning process and solicit input from attendees.

GEOTRACES is an international program whose mission is to identify processes and quantify fluxes that control the distributions of key trace elements and isotopes in the ocean, and to establish the sensitivity of these distributions to changing environmental conditions. The Arctic Ocean, where rapid climate change and accompanying biogeochemical responses are occurring, has been of particular interest to the program. The rapidly warming climate may have a profound impact on the carbon budget, geochemical cycles, and arctic ecosystems. These changes are predicted to affect global systems through feedback mechanisms related to processes such as melting ice and the release of carbon from permafrost.

The goal of the U.S. Arctic GEOTRACES planning effort is to develop an international field campaign using multiple icebreakers to sample the Arctic Ocean. Several nations, including Sweden, Canada, and Germany, have expressed interest in participating in this effort. Canada, for example, has scheduled a planning workshop for 2-4 May 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia; and the U.S. has scheduled a community implementation workshop for 13-15 June 2012 in Washington, D.C. These meetings and workshops, funded in part by NSF, are open to anyone interested in the biogeochemical cycles of trace elements and their isotopes within the arctic region.

Reports from previous international and U.S. GEOTRACES arctic planning workshops can be found at: http://www.obs-vlfr.fr/GEOTRACES/libraries/documents/Arctic_Report.pdf and http://www.usgeotraces.org/documents/arcticDOC/ArcticWorkshopRpt.pdf.

For further information about the GEOTRACES program, please see: http://www.geotraces.org.

For questions about the U.S. Arctic GEOTRACES initiative, please contact David Kadko (dkadko [at] rsmas [dot] miami [dot] edu).