Dirigibile Italia, Ny-Ålesund: projects/activities

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Displaying: 1 - 12 of 12
1. Arctic and Alpine Stream Ecosystem Research

The project, Arctic and Alpine Stream Ecosystem Research (AASER), started within EU’s Climate & Environment Programme and now continues with national funding, primarily Norway, Italy and Austria. The objective is to study dynamics and processes in rivers systems in Arctic and Alpine regions. Emphasis is given to the relationships between benthic invertebrates and environmental variables, especially in glacier-fed systems and in relation to climate change scenarios. On Svalbard research is concentrated around Ny Ålesund, particularly Bayelva and Londonelva. In 2004 the focus will be on the use to stable isotopes to detect transfer processes within and between ecosystems.

Glaciers Biology Catchment studies Spatial trends Climate change Biodiversity Arctic Food webs Temporal trends Ecosystems
2. ISACCO(Ionospheric Scintillations Arctic Campaign Coordinated Observations)

The polar ionosphere is sensible to the enhancement of the electromagnetic radiation and energetic particles coming from the Sun expecially around a maximum of solar activity . Some typical phenomena can occur such as, among the others, geomagnetic storms, sub-storms and ionospheric irregularities. In this frame the high latitude ionosphere may become highly turbulent showing the presence of small-scale (from centimetres to meters) structures or irregularities imbedded in the large-scale (tens of kilometers) ambient ionosphere. These irregularities produce short term phase and amplitude fluctuations in the carrier of the radio waves which pass through them. These effects are commonly called Amplitude and Phase Ionospheric Scintillations that can affect the reliability of GPS navigational systems and satellite communications. The goal of this proposal is to contribute to the understanding of the physical mechanisms responsible of the ionospheric scintillations as well as to data collecting for nowcasting/forecasting purposes at high latitude. As the scarceness of polar observations, the specific site near Ny-Ålesund is of particular experimental interest.

Mapping Geophysics Modelling Arctic Atmosphere ionospheric scintillation and TEC (Total Electron Content) monitoring.
3. ATMospheric Fluxes from Arctic Snow Surfaces - ATMS

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.

Atmospheric processes Ozone gaseous ammonia nitrogen bio-geochemical cycle Pollution sources Climate change tropospheric boundary layer nitrogen oxides Ice Emissions SNOW and SNOWPACK Arctic Data management photochemical production Atmosphere Human health
4. Sun-Earth Interaction: Auroral Observations from Svalbard Islands with “ITACA”, ITalian All-sky-Camera for Auroral observations

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.

Atmospheric processes "dayside auroras" high-latitude auroral observation Geophysics Modelling Arctic magnetic substorm Data management Atmosphere auroral oval ITACA²
5. Organic compounds: precursors and their oxidation products in the Artic environment

The min goals are: -to study the organic composition, trace gas and aerosols in environmental air; -to try to identify transport phenomena (i.e. from Europe), local degradation and removal processes; -to evaluate the effect of the organic compounds on the polar environment, toxic compounds or formed photochemical products in order to prevent and protect the climatology and their environment. Organic compounds determination is focused on two sampling field campaigns in the Arctic region, in the summer and in the winter corresponding at day conditions and night time.

PCBs PAHs Long-range transport Arctic Atmosphere
6. Determination of atmospheric fluxes of Radionuclides, Heavy Metals and Persistent Organic pollutants in well defined watershed, lakes and coastal marine sediments of Svalbard from the beginning of nuclear age

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.

Atmospheric processes Biology Hydrography Heavy metals Radioactivity Radionuclides Arctic Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Sediments Atmosphere Ecosystems
7. Hydrology and water currents in the inner part of Kongsfjord in front of Kongsbreen Glacier

The aim of this project is to study the physical oceanography of the sea in the area where Kongsbreen glacier get in touch with the sea in the inner part of Kongsfjord. In particular the project aims:  to characterise temperature and salinity of water masses in the inner part of Kongsfjord close to Kongsbreen Glacier  to characterise major fresh water outflow from Kongsbreen glaciers to the sea in the inner part of the fiord  to collect time series if seawater currents in-out from the inner part, temperature and salinity patterns for one year from summer 2001 to summer 2002.  to collect a one year time series of sea level changes by an automatic self recording depth gauges deployed close to the base.

Glaciers Kongsfjord Hydrography Water currents Hydrology sea level change salinity Sea ice Climate change Ice Oceanography Arctic temperature Ocean currents Kongsbreen
8. Role of organic and inorganic particles in the mobility of radionuclides in the Kongsfjord-Krossfjord system (MORAK)

The aims of the project are: - to evaluate the fluxes of radionuclides in the water column and their accumulation in the sediment, on a short-time scale; - to determine the C/N and delta13C-delta15N ratios in suspended and sedimentary matter, and test their use as tracers of origin, composition and transformation pathways of organic particles. The selected study area is the Kongsfjord-Krossfjord system, Svalbard, considered as representative test-site for studying processes occurring in Arctic fjords. The focus of the project will be on the processes occurring at the glacier-sea interface, where enhanced lithogenic and biogenic particle fluxes are reported in summer. Specific methods will be used to trace the particle sources. The rate of accumulation-resuspension processes will also be investigated from the inner fjord to the outer continental shelf.

Glaciers Hydrography Climate Sea ice Contaminant transport Radionuclides Oceanography Arctic Sediments Ocean currents
9. Study of bioactive compounds from arctic plants

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

Pedicularis dasyantha Biology Saxifraga compounds analysis chemical and biochemical analysis of arctic plants Biodiversity Arctic data collection secondary metabolites and peptides Artemisia borealis Data management
10. Relative importance of different sources of particulate matter in the Kongsfjorden environment

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.

athmospheric carbon dioxide Biological effects Biology Arctic haze Hydrography inorganic and organic nutrients particulate Sea ice Ice Oceanography Biodiversity Arctic Ice cores Data management Atmosphere Ocean currents phytoplankton sediment radiometric chronology zooplankton
11. Radiometric studies of natural surfaces at Ny-Aalesund by means of field survey and multispectral satellite data

The main goal of this research project is to complete the collection of snow/ice field data and to improve the organization of snow/ice spectral signatures, and structural data, along with ancillary information in the existing archive.

Geology Mapping radiometric studies remote-sensing Spatial trends Climate change Ice Arctic Temporal trends spectral reflectance
12. Diversity and changes on temporal and spatial scales of the cyanobacterial community in the high arctic environment of Spitsbergen, Svalbard Islands

The structure and role of the cyanobacterial communities that colonise bare soils and fix nitrogen in the arctic ecosystem will be studied. The planned activities will focus on the isolation, identification and characterisation of cyanobacteria from arctic habitats and on the changes of the cyanobacterial community along a transect from a retreating glacier front to a more stable habitat characterised by the presence of mature vegetation. For these purposes, a polyphasic approach encompassing microbiological, morphological and molecular techniques will be applied to environmental samples and isolated cultures. The obtained results will give new insights on the diversity and role of nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria in the arctic and, in more general terms, on ecosystem development under changing climatic conditions.

Biology nitrogen fixation cyanobacteria Soils Climate change Biodiversity Arctic Ecosystems