The Arctic Spring Expedition is passing through the Bering Strait. This 80km wide strait between Russia and the US is the Pacific gateway to the Arctic Ocean. Any water that wants to enter the Arctic has to pass through this tight, 50-m deep constriction. The water that flows north is vital to life in the Arctic; plankton blooms are spurred on by the inflow of nutrients from Pacific winter water, the very plankton blooms that this expedition is out to investigate. The only problem is, as the seasons change the inflow of high nutrient water is replaced by a lower nutrient warm water type. Bob Pickart from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, explains how we might be arriving north a little late. Last night, he measured the water flowing into the Arctic through the Bering Strait and saw the start of the low-nutrient influx. We have to get north quickly now to outrun this water and witness the plankton blooms under the ice in their full glory.

About The Author

Ben Harden

Ben is a polar oceanographer and meteorologist working at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He is also a multimedia producer making radio and video programs. On this expedition Ben will be documenting the science and life aboard the Healy in a range of mediums.

2 Responses

  1. Donglai Gong

    Great to hear the first section is completed. Barrow Canyon appears to be still pretty iced up based on satellite imagery. Good luck pushing northward! Look forward to more updates.

    • Ben Harden

      Hi Donglai,

      Tough times pushing through this thick ice – much slower going than one of Bob’s normal cruises! Didn’t end up making it into barrow canyon for the compacted ice there! Thanks for following.


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