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The central objectives of the proposed ATMAS project are: to quantify the photo-chemically triggered NOx and HONO re-emission fluxes from permanently and seasonally snow-covered surfaces in the Arctic near Ny-Ålesund, to quantify the sources of NO3 in these snow-covered surfaces. In detail, the following scientific objectives of ATMAS can be distinguished: 1. to quantify atmospheric gradient fluxes of HNO3, HONO, particulate nitrogen compounds, and nitrogen in precipitation (snow and rain) above snow surfaces; 2. to quantify the emission of NOx and HONO from the snow pack as atmospheric gradient fluxes 3. to formulate an influx-outflow relationship that can be used in dependence on the snow type for (photo-)chemical atmospheric process models. The results of this research may be expanded to a regional (European) or global scale, to suggest how the NOx and HONO re-emission process and its consequences can be included into regional emission, dispersion and deposition models used in Europe.
Observation of the high latitude auroral activity, during the winter season, by means of automatic all-sky camera(s). Study of the high-latitude auroral activity, focusing on the so-called “dayside auroras”: a particular phenomenon concerning the direct precipitation of the thermalised solar wind plasma through the geomagnetic cusps, favourably observable from the Svalbard. The analysis of the data, mainly devoted to the “dayside auroras”, will concern the comparison of the optical images obtained from both the station of Ny-Alesund and the new one of Daneborg (Greenland) with the data collected by Wind, ACE, DSMP, Polar, and Cluster satellites. Starting from the 2002 season, the joint auroral observations from Ny-Alesund and Daneborg allows the monitoring of a relevant area involved in the “dayside aurora” phenomena.
One of the major benefits of performing measurements at Ny-Ålesund is the availability of a monitoring station on Mount Zeppelin, 474m asl. Given the typical height of the Arctic inversion layer during the envisaged measurement period, it will be possible to continuously monitor mercury and particulate in the free troposphere at the same time as performing ground level monitoring. The simultaneous measurements above and below the boundary layer should provide evidence for the mode of elemental Hg replenishment, whether it is from due to exchange with the free troposphere, or transport occurring at sea level. The proposed collaboration, by collecting data from two strategically placed Arctic stations, in the paths of different air masses and data from above the Arctic inversion layer would provide the most comprehensive set of Arctic mercury measurements performed to date.
Study of secondary metabolites and peptides produced by arctic plants. The aim of the project is the chemical and biochemical analysis of arctic plants such as Saxifraga spp., Artemisia borealis and Pedicularis dasyantha and others, for the search of compounds (secondary metabolites and peptides) to be employed as potential new drugs The basic working program in the arctic base will focus on the collection and preliminary work up (extraction, initial fractionation) of vegetal tissues from arctic plant species and their storage for the subsequent finer analyses
The general objective of this research concerns the quantitative and qualitative study of particulate matter retained in natural (sea-ice and sediment) and artificial (sediment traps) traps in order to determine the main origin (autochtonous and allochtonous) and the relative importance of different fractions of particulate matter and to follow their fate in the environment. To quantify the autochtonous origin of particulate matter, primary production, nutrient uptake, biomass distribution, phytoplankton community structure and fluxes in the first levels of the trophic chain will be investigated. Studies will be conducted in the sea-ice environment and in the water column and compared to the particle fluxes measured both in the water, using sediment traps and in the sediment, by radiometric chronology, in order to estimate the different contribution of these habitats to carbon export to the bottom. The zooplankton will be identified and counted and primary production, nutrient uptake and phytoplankton dynamics will be related to hydrological structure and nutrient availability in the environment. The Kongsfjord results particularly suitable for the main objective of this research as it is influenced by important inputs of both atmospheric (eolic and meteroric) and glacial origin and is characterised by a complex hydrological situation which may promote autochtonous productive processes, thus determining important particulate fluxes.