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Expedition to the Lena and Yana Rivers

Abstract

The Russian icebreaker KAPITAN DRANITSYN carried out the TRANSDRIFT III expedition to the Laptev Sea (October 1 to 30., 1995), the largest ice factory in the Arctic Ocean and source region of the Transpolar Drift. In this shelf region, ice free for only three months a year, a comprehensive interdisciplinary working program concerning the causes and effects of annual freeze-up was performed. Unlike our previous expeditions to the Laptev Sea, which focused On oceanographical, hydrochemical, ecological, and sedimentological processes during the brief ice-free period in summer, this expedition studied these processes during the extreme physical change through the onset of ice formation in autumn. This is the first study of its kind under these conditions, and gave important clues to the rapid (14 to 40 days) freeze-up, which has significant year-round effects for the Laptev Sea and global environment. Freeze-up began one month later than usual (a 40 year record) close to the Novosibirskie Islands in low salinity surface waters due to heat stored in an intermediate water layer between 10 and 25 m water depth. Later, huge tracts of turbid, dirty ice were found off the Lena Delta where an unusually high phytoplankton concentration for this time of year occurred. The origin of these anomalies, and whether they are anomalies at all, and their relationship to global environment in real time are the focus of continuing research

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This paper was published in OceanRep.

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