The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically impacted oceanographic research carried out from the CCGS Amundsen in 2020. Although Amundsen Science’s principal objective during the pandemic is to maintain state-of-the-art research activities while taking the appropriate measures to not affect the health and safety of Canada’s northern communities and sea-going personnel, we have developed an optimal 2021 Expedition Plan that uses the full window available for science and assumes that the COVID-related constraints are addressed successfully (i.e., full science crew onboard the ship, unrestricted access to the North, lifting of travel restrictions). In other words, we are aiming for a very ambitious 2021 Amundsen Expedition from 30 June to 3 November 2021 and will work toward realizing the best version of it as events unfold in the coming months. The program presented here is still preliminary, but discussions with the Canadian Coast Guard and research teams are ongoing to support the planning process.
The preliminary 2021 Amundsen Expedition includes postponed programs from the initial 2020 field season along with a few additional programs. In total, 9 research programs will be supported during the Expedition. These programs will study the Arctic and subarctic marine ecosystems through multidisciplinary research activities and integrated studies targeting the physical, chemical and biological environments, the carbon cycle, the geology of the seabed and the seasonal transition from fall to winter in the High Arctic. The 2021 Amundsen Expedition will take place from 30 June to 3 November, divided into 5 legs spaced at 28-day intervals, for a total of 126 days at sea.
A virtual Expedition Planning and Outreach Workshop will be held on 22-23 March to address scenarios and constraints with respect to the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to discussing the scientific needs, harmonization of research programs, logistics and training. All are welcome to the Outreach Workshop on 23 March, where the mandate and history of Amundsen Science will be discussed. It is also the occasion to get involved with the future of the Amundsen. Please register here.
30 June to 15 July – Quebec City to St. John’s
The first Leg of the Expedition is dedicated to seabed habitats study for the Marine Spatial Planning Program of the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). The scientific operations conducted during this leg include seafloor mapping surveys, sediment coring activities and bottom camera deployments on the Northeast Newfoundland shelf and slope.
15 July to 12 August–St. John’s to Iqaluit
Leg 2 of the 2021 Expedition will use the new Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to study key coral habitats and seabed seep features in the Labrador Sea and Baffin Bay. The ArcticNet marine program will also conduct varied scientific operations with a focus on coring activities, bottom camera deployments and contaminant studies of the sediments. In addition, moorings recoveries and deployments will take place at 5 locations.
12 August to 9 September – Iqaluit to Resolute Bay
Leg 3 of the 2021 Expedition will take place in Baffin Bay and Lancaster Sound. The Knowledge and Ecosystem Based Approach in Baffin Bay (KEBABB) program will sample various components of the ecosystem along 5 transects in the Southern Baffin Bay area. In between these stations, dedicated bottom mapping and river sampling for the ArcticNet program will take place, in addition to ArcticNet historical transect in the Hudson Strait and in the Davis strait. Scientific operations will also take place in Quaqtaq (QC) for the Sentinel North program.
9 September to 7 October – Resolute Bay to Cambridge Bay
Leg 4 programs will study the Permafrost Carbon in the Beaufort Sea (PeCaBeau) through biogeochemical and carbon cycling studies of seawater and sediments at more than 20 stations. In addition, the Radiocarbon Distributions and Carbon Cycling between Baffin Bay and the Beaufort Sea (RADCARBBS) program and ArcticNet marine program will be onboard. They will study fishes, plankton, contaminants, carbon cycle and biogeochemistry in the Northwest Passage and along key historical transects. Autonomous gliders will also be deployed in the Beaufort Sea to investigate water masses mixing and turbulence.
7 October to 3 November – Cambridge Bay to Quebec City
During the final Leg of the 2021 Expedition, an integrated study will take place at the ice edge to study the fall-winter transition in northern Baffin Bay (Dark Edge). The Sentinel North program will deploy an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and the ArcticNet marine program will also contribute to the Dark Edge campaign. The CCGS Amundsen will sail to Quebec City for the end of the annual expedition on November 3rd.