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OGS conducts scientific activities within the fields of Earth Sciences and Polar Science in the Arctic, primarily but not exclusively, in the sea with the vessel OGS-Explora. Current OGS activities in the Arctic include a) Pergamon, EU COST Action: European network for study and long-term monitoring of permafrost, gas hydrates and release of methane in the Arctic and climate change impacts; b) IBCAO (International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean) to develop a digital bathymetric database to the north of 64°. OGS is the Editorial Board and provides multibeam data; c) Research activities in the frame of PNRA (Italian Antarctic and Arctic National Research Programme) through several projects devoted to paleoceanographic study of the thermohaline circulation on the Eirik Drift (Greenland and study of paleoclimate in the Barents Sea using geological and geophysical data from the International Polar Year EGLACOM cruise of OGS Explora. CORIBAR international project (IT, DE, ES, N, DK) will provided in the next 1-2 years new data for the last item, through MEBO drilling on board RV Maria S. Merian.
Italy’s leading national research institution, the CNR has been supporting research activity at Ny-Ålesund since 1997, when the scientific station “Dirigibile Italia” was acquired. This infrastructure supports Arctic research conducted by the national research community. In 2008, it was improved through the construction of the Amundsen-Nobile Climate Change Tower and the actikvity largely enlarged with the Climate Change Tower Integrated Project (CCT-IP - www.isac.cnr.it/~radiclim/CCTower). Scientific cooperation, particularly focused on atmospheric science including pollutants distribution and ozone studies, on oceanography and on marine biology and biodiversity was developed by CNR scientists in particular with NPI and AWI; CNR is coordinating actions (EU-GMOS project) to improve and implement the observational system related to mercury. CNR is also involved in the SIOS preparatory phase project, and in Italy it is engaged to coordinate interested Italian expertises in a common scientific plan and actively promote Italian participation to SIOS final multidisciplinary platform. In the years to come, CNR intends to promote the improvement of research activity and to reinforce international cooperation of the Italian research groups, and to provide a significant contribution to the observational system in the Arctic, following the lines recommended by SAON. Together with the improvement/development of a supersite at Ny-Ålesund and large contribution to SIOS, CNR will operate to contribute/sustain thematic networks (Polar-AOD for aerosol and GMOS for mercury leading from CNR).
The 2003 field activity will be mainly dedicated to coring activity which includes: 1. the sampling of snow and ice cores from a Ny-Ålesund nearby glacier (midre Lovenbreen). 2. the collection of near coast (Kongsfjorden) and lakes sediments (maximum under pack depth 30 m). Sampling collection of ice and sediment cores will be performed using a portable, electric operated, sampling corer. The transport of all materials up to each sampling station should be performed with snowcats.
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.