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The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority is responsible for a nationwide network of 33 stations that continuously measure background radiation levels. The network was established in the years following the Chernobyl accident in 1986, and was upgraded to a new and modern network in the period 2006-2008. Additional stations were added in 2009. The purpose of the monitoring network is to provide an early warning if radioactive emissions reach Norway.
Anthropogenic 129I discharged from European reprocessing plants has widely dispersed in the Nordic waters including the Arctic. Due to the high solubility and long residence time of iodine in seawater, anthropogenic 129I has become an ideal oceanographic tracer for investigating transport pathways and the exchange of water masses.
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.
Elevated levels of 137Cs caused by previous atmospheric nuclear weapons tests fallout and the Chernobyl accident have been observed in Finnmark, Northern Norway. Due to the large consumption of potentially contaminated reindeer meat, whole body measurements of 137Cs levels in reindeer herders have been performed since 1965.
The IPY-project ‘COPOL’ has a main objective of understanding the dynamic range of man-made contaminants in marine ecosystems of polar regions, in order to better predict how possible future climate change will be reflected in levels and effects at higher trophic levels. This aim will be addressed by 4 integrated work packages covering the scopes of 1) food web contaminant exposure and flux, 2) transfer to higher trophic levels and potential effects, 3) chemical analyses and screening, 4) synthesis and integration. To study the relations between climate and environmental contaminants within a project period of four years, a “location-substitutes-time”-approach will be employed. The sampling is focussed towards specific areas in the Arctic, representing different climatic conditions. Two areas that are influenced differently by different water masses are chosen; the Kongsfjord on the West-coast of Spitzbergen (79N, 12 E) and the Rijpfjord North-East of Svalbard (80N, 22 E). The main effort is concentrated in the Kongsfjord. This fjord has been identified as particularly suitable as a study site of contaminants processes, due to the remoteness of sources, and for influences of climatic changes, due to the documented relation between Atlantic water influx and the climatic index North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The water masses of the Rijpfjord have Arctic origin and serves as a strictly Arctic reference. Variable Atlantic water influx will not only influence abiotic contaminant exposure, but also food web structure, food quality and energy pathways, as different water masses carry different phyto- and zooplankton assemblages. This may affect the flux of contaminants through the food web to high trophic level predators such as seabirds and seals, due to altered food quality and energy pathways.
Marine foodwebs as vector and possibly source of viruses and bacteria patogenic to humans shall be investigated in a compartive north-south study. Effects of sewage from ships traffic and urban settlements, on animals of arctic foodwebs will be studied.
During the last decade the concern regarding environmental effects of the offshore industry has shifted from effects of drilling discharges on benthic communities, towards a stronger focus on the water column and effects on the pelagic ecosystem. At the same time, oil and gas development is expanding in the Norwegian and Russian sectors of the Barents Sea. In this regard, a project has been initiated to look at responses of especially Calanus spp. and other copepod species to long-term, sublethal exposure to selected offshore discharges and discharge components, as well as accidental oil spills. Calanus spp. is ecologically the most important zooplankton species along the Norwegian shelf and in the Barents Sea. A laboratory based facility for culture through several generations is being developed through this project. In addition, the impact of oil compounds on the cold-water and arctic Calanus species-complex will be examined by carrying out a series of laboratory (some at Ny Ålesund) and ship based experiments. The response parameters will include both behavioral (feeding, mate finding, avoidance) and physiological (mortality, egg production, development rates, oxygen consumption and assimilation efficiency) parameters. The ultimate outcome of this research is expected to be a supporting instrument for ecological risk assessment of offshore discharges, which is highly relevant both to the North Sea, the mid-Norway shelf and the Barents Sea.
Arctic animals utilize periods with high food availability for feeding and lipid deposition, whereas they rely on stored lipids during unfavorable periods. Hence, many arctic inhabitants exhibit profound seasonal cycles of fattening and emaciation. In the Arctic, feeding is associated with fat deposition and contaminant accumulation. When lipids are mobilized, accumulated contaminants are released into the circulation. Consequently, blood contaminant concentrations may increase markedly and result in a redistribution of the contaminant(s) from “insensitive”, adipose tissues to sensitive organs, and increased contaminant bioavailability. Such variations complicate interpretations of pollutant toxicity, both in effect studies and in monitoring programs, and remains an important future reseach area. In the present study, we will use arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) as a model species for investigating tissue distribution and bioavailability of organochlorine contaminants (OCs) in relation to natural variations in lipid status (field study). These data will be supplemented and validated through a contamination study with blue fox (A. lagopus), where the seasonal changes in lipid status of wild fox are simulated in the laboratory. In both the field and laboratory study, possible effects of OCs on steroid hormone synthesis, and plasma levels of hormones, vitamin E and retinol will also be assessed.
This project will examine benthic processes in arctic and mid-latitude regions in order to derive specific conclusions on the sensitivity of benthic organisms and communities to acute spills of petroleum-related chemicals and routine releases of drill cuttings. We will carry out a series of controlled experiments on whole sediment communities and individual benthic organisms with additions of drill cuttings and petroleum-associated contaminants, arriving at a set of hypotheses on the likely impacts on the benthos of petroleum production activities at higher latitudes. A series of testable hypotheses will be formulated based on an examination of real-world monitoring data sets collected under Norway’s Petroleum Regional Monitoring Programme and results of mesocosm experiments performed previously at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) Station at Solbergstrand. These data sets will be examined in order to identify the geographic scope of responses to petroleum industrial activities. Through this work, we intend to propose procedures to improve the interpretation of benthic monitoring data for diverse environmental regions in Norway. The project is linked to several on-going NFR projects within the Polarklima programme. By involving a Ph.D. student the project will advance the education and training of young scientists in the field of biological effects studies related to petroleum development and exploration activities.
The project EPOPEE is embedded in the international project ASTAR to study direct and indirect climate effects of aerosols and clouds in the Arctic. The particular goals of the project EPOPEE are to experimentally characterize the ice phase in Arctic clouds (including the ice phase) in situ, to study the aerosol-cloud as well as cloud-radiation interactions, and to develop adequate methods to validate remote sensing cloud parameters. In 2004 the project EPOPEE is mainly organized around in situ observations of detailed microphysical and optical cloud properties onboard the Polar-2 aircraft during the transition from polluted Arctic haze (observed especially in late winter, early spring months) to clean summer aerosol conditions. The transition from Arctic haze to clean summer conditions is quite sharp (a large amount of aerosols coming from Eurasian industrial areas accumulate over the Arctic and cover the Arctic by a layer of a smog-like haze of the size of the continent of Africa) due to a radical change in atmospheric transport patterns and is, thus, easy to identify. During Arctic summer, the high latitudes are then more or less “protected” from long-range transport of air masses from lower latitudes. The principal scientific objective of the project EPOPEE in 2004 will focus on studying the aerosol-cloud interactions with particular attention given to the ice phase nucleation in Arctic mixed-phase clouds. The interpretation of the instrumental observations will broadly benefit from a very close cooperation with the LaMP modelling group for theoretically coupling small-scale processes (cloud particle nucleation) with meso-scale dynamics. Furthermore, the project will focus on cloud-radiation interaction and the development of adequate methods to validate cloud parameters retrieved from remote sensing techniques. Therein, we will experimentally answer the question of how the different ice crystal shapes govern the scattering phase function of respective crystals. Moreover, the in situ cloud measurements will allow to develop an adequate strategy for the interpretation of remote sensing data from a depolarisation Lidar onboard the same aircraft (Polar-2).
The aim of this programme was to study the physiological and behavioural adaptations to the incubation fast in the female eider. This leads to study fundamental questions about three complementary field researches described below. 1. Evolutionary and ecological approaches: energetic costs of reproduction during incubation In long-lived birds as Eider, there must be trade-offs between the energy allocated in growth and in reproduction. Therefore, individuals develop different reproductive strategies in relation with biotic and non biotic factors to maximize their fitness. Among factors tested, we will first measure the effects of animal density on female reproductive success. Additionally, we will measure, thanks to genetic tests, 1) the characteristics of eider populations (dispertion) by comparing birds originating from several islands and several locations on the same island, 2) the frequency of intra-specific nest parasitism and 3) extra-pair copulations to link these events with female behavioural decisions. To link reproductive effort with female immunocompetence, we will then perform PHA (phytohaemagglutinine) skin tests at different stages of the incubation period. Finally, we will perform clutch reductions at different stages of the incubation period in order to highlight decision rules controlling nest desertion in females. 2. Physiological and ecological approaches: parental investment in reproduction We will also focus on the implication of prolactin and corticosterone in the control of parental decision at the hatching stage. Implantation of exogenous hormones will be done on nesting birds to evaluate the respective role of these two hormones in the control of parental decisions in eiders. Parental investment in incubation can be regulated by the reproductive value of the clutch size. To further understand the mechanism underlying nest desertion, we will measure the induced-changes in prolactin and corticosterone concentrations after clutch size manipulation overall the incubating period. 3. Physiological approach: regulation of body fuel utilization during fasting The aim will be to study the mechanisms of the regulation of body fuel utilization and energy expenditure during fasting. For this purpose, the ability of eider duck to withstand long periods of starvation will be studied by measuring the variations in plasma of major substrate concentrations (as index of lipid or protein breakdown) and hormones (e.g., leptin, glucagon, corticosterone, T3, ...). The study of duck’s adaptation to extended fasts occurring at specific stages of their life might help to understand important underlying mechanisms, such as reduction in energy expenditure, long-term regulation of body fat storage and mobilization, as well as long-term control of food intake.
The aim is a better understanding of the impact of contemporary climatic change (posterior to Little Ice Age) on plant dynamics and the morphodynamic processes active at the glacial margins in polar environments. The selected research field is constituted of the Brøgger Peninsula, where erosion assessments will be evaluated for various processes (frost weathering, runoff, biological weathering, …).
Objective 1: Proof of the possibility to estimate temperatures from meteor decay times using co-located, simultaneous meteor observations on two, well separated frequencies (32.55 MHz/SKiYMET radar and 53.5 MHz/ALWIN MST radar) without the assumption of a predetermined temperature gradient. The second method for determining temperature height profiles uses the direct measurement of the ambipolar diffusion coefficient in conjunction with pressure data to estimate temperatures. Pressure data from empirical models are often too unreliable, therefore pressure data derived from rocket-borne falling spheres measurements could be used for a reliable temperature determination. Objective 2: Proof of the method using co-located meteor radar measurements and falling sphere soundings conducted in 2002 at Andenes (69N) during the MaCWAVE campaign. It should be possible to estimate meteor temperature profiles in a height range between 82 km and about 94 km.
During the past years, atmospheric research in high latitudes has been focussed on processes causing ozone loss in the polar winter lower stratosphere1). Recent research efforts also dealt with regions up to the lower mesosphere, and studied the effects of charged particle precipitation on NO and ozone2)-5). However, the measurement techniques and hence the database for studying such processes in this altitude range are very limited. The Airborne SUbmillimeter Radiometer ASUR6),7) of the Institute of Environmental Physics of the University of Bremen has recently been equipped with a high-resolution spectrometer that will enable the retrieval of vertical profiles of ozone up to an altitude of about 65 - 70 km. Its measurement capabilities comprise also several other species of interest, especially NO. This makes the measurement technique particularly suitable for upper stratospheric/lower mesospheric studies. The lidar at ALOMAR is capable of measuring highly resolved vertical profiles of ozone up to an altitude of 60 km, thus giving the rare opportunity for intercomparison and validation studies in an altitude range reaching from the lower stratosphere to the lower mesosphere. Therefore we propose to perform simultaneous ozone measurements of the ASUR instrument with the ALOMAR lidar, supported by launches of ozone sondes.
The upper troposphere and lower stratosphere are strongly affected by the appearance of gravity waves with different scales. Due to the exponential decrease of the density with the altitude, the upward propagation of these waves is associated with an increase in their amplitudes. Associated with the wave breaking and with deposit of momentum and energy in the background flow, the dynamical and thermal structure at upper stratospheric and mesospheric heights are essentially influenced. However, their sources and the quantitative aspects of these processes are poorly understood at present. Here we are focussing on the investigation of long periodic gravity waves with periods of several hours and horizontal wavelengths of more than hundred kilometres. In contrast to the pure internal gravity waves, these waves are called inertio-gravity waves due to their influence by the rotation of the Earth, described by the Coriolis effect or by the inertial frequency.
Noctilucent clouds (NLC) remain a fascinating phenomenon of the upper atmosphere to study. The questions about the typical particle density and particle size distribution within a NLC are very prominent ones, to which a number of answers have been given, though some of the answers contradict each other. The parameters of particle size distributions can be derived from groundbased lidar measurements of the spectral dependence of the volume backscatter coefficient of an NLC. Such studies have been performed during a number of NLC events by e.g. the ALOMAR Rayleigh/Mie/Raman (RMR) lidar (von Cossart et al., GRL, 26, 1513, 1999). A drawback of these experiments is the wavelength limitation of the RMR lidar, the shortest wavelength of which is 355 nm. At this wavelength, the sensitivity of the lidar to particles with sizes smaller than, say, 25 nm is minimal. Because a considerable part of the entire particle population may have sizes below that threshold, a lingering question remains whether or not this drawback matters for typical NLC distributions. Using the ALOMAR ozone lidar, a measurement of the NLC volume backscatter coefficient at 308 nm becomes possible. Due to the l-4 -dependence of the backscatter coefficients, the latter are almost a factor of 2 larger at this wavelength than at 355 nm. For this reason and in order to gain a fourth wavelength to the spectral distribution, we aim at using the ozone lidar for the outlined project.
Waves play a major role for the momentum and energy transport in the middle atmosphere [Fritts and van Zandt, 1993] by modifying the local temperature field as well as the general circulation when the waves reach the saturation level and break [Holton, 1983; Fritts, 1984]. The MACWAVE rocket campaign is investigating the wave field in polar latitudes during summer and winter. To learn more about the horizontal structure of the wave field, it is important to measure at more than one station. For the monitoring of the vertical transport by the waves, measurements over a large height range are necessary. The combination of lidars, radiosondes and falling spheres will cover the region from the ground up to approximately 105 km. When comparing data, it is important to take into account the different measurement principles and integration times. The rocket will show small scale variations whereas the lidar permits a continuous monitoring of the temperature and wave situation
These investigations confirm the fact that in the stratosphere the ozone is considerably influenced by dynamical processes and it is a good indicator of them. In this context the main objectives of the proposed study are: 1) to investigate the possible relationship between stratospheric ozone perturbations and the temperature enhancement in the upper mesosphere, observed by Shepherd et al. (2001); 2) to examine whether changes in ozone, concomitant with the phenomenon, take place and how and when they would be manifested; and 3) to investigate the stratospheric ozone behaviour during the equinox atmospheric transition in the North Hemisphere, for better understanding of the middle atmosphere dynamics.
The purpose of the CHAOS_A project is to perform measurements under "Antarctic conditions" during the polar vortex period with the new assembled spectrometer in order to perform tasks that cannot be achieved at low latitudes namely OClO detection. Therefore the campaign focus more in technical aspects than scientific ones. The period of observation may be short to achieve results of scientific interest and those will depend on the meteorology of the stratosphere (position of the polar vortex relative to the station, temperatures at the lower stratosphere, etc). The OClO results will be compared with those obtained by the NILU (Andoya) and Heidelberg U.
Radioactivity in the Arctic environment is a central topic within environmental pollution issues. Increased discharges of technetium-99 (99Tc) from the nuclear fuel reprocessing plant Sellafield to the Irish Sea has caused public concerns in Norway. This project (acronym “RADNOR”) includes model and monitoring assessments and improvements, assessment of current and novel abiotic and biotic dose parameters and dose calculations and use of realistic climatic background scenarios in order to assess corresponding consequences for transport of radioactive pollutants. RADNOR consists of three main components: part 1, the determination of levels and time series of 99Tc in benthic and pelagic food webs; part 2, containing working packages on improvements to the understanding of site-specific and time-dependent sediment-water interactions (KD), kinetics of accumulation (CF) and body distribution in marine organisms, including contaminated products for the alginate industry and part 3, dealing with model hindcasts and observations for spreading of 99Tc from the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant during the 1990s and improvement of the NRPA dose assessment box model. From the model outputs, doses to man and environment will be calculated resulting in a valuable database for use within environmental management and for decision makers.