University of Delaware marine scientists are now working aboard the 420-foot U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy on a National Science Foundation project to track the fresh water flowing out of the Arctic Ocean into the Atlantic. This fresh water, from melting ice and rivers, affects the salinity and circulation of the ocean and thus has a major influence on the Earth’s climate.
The 420-foot U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy will be home to research teams from the University of Delaware, Oregon State University, and the Institute of Ocean Sciences in British Columbia during a month-long expedition to begin tracking the fresh water flowing out of the Arctic Ocean into the Atlantic
“Freshwater discharge from the Arctic to the North Atlantic is a crucial factor controlling global climate,” says Andreas Muenchow, associate professor of Physical Ocean Science and Engineering in the UD College of Marine Studies and one of the lead investigators on the project.
The five-year study involves over 35 scientists from Oregon State University, the Institute of Ocean Sciences in British Columbia, and the University of Delaware. The scientists will be using tools ranging from underwater current profilers to satellite sensors to determine the volume and timing of freshwater flows through Nares Strait, a narrow channel between northern Greenland and Canada’s Ellesmere Island.
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