Changing Arctic Ocean

Implications for marine biology and biogeochemistry

Photo: Snapshot of a GoPro movie taken to scan the underside of an ice floe on the ARAON 10B expedition 2019. The light penetration through the sea ice and snow is visible, as is some ice algae abundance in patches. The light penetration is larger under a melt pond in the back, behind which the keels of ice ridges reach into the water column.

The overarching aim of the Changing Arctic Ocean programme is to understand how the changing physical environment will affect the large-scale ecosystem structure and biogeochemical functioning of the Arctic Ocean.

The two key research challenges of the programme are the following:

  • To develop quantified understanding of the structure and functioning of Arctic ecosystems.
  • To understand the sensitivity of Arctic ecosystem structure, functioning and services to multiple stressors and the development of projections of the impacts of change.

The programme started in February 2017 with four large projects (Arctic PRIZE, ARISE, ChAOS, DIAPOD) funded by NERC. A further 12 projects joined the programme in July 2018, co-funded by NERC and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Each one investigates different aspects of the Changing Arctic Ocean. Combined, the projects involve 32 research institutions and organisations in the UK and Germany, and more than 200 scientists.

The contribution of the sea ice physics section to this program are part of two of the projects in the CAO progamme (see boxes below): Eco-Light and Diatom-ARCTIC. Both projects are co-funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and by NERC.