Posts Tagged ‘Ellesmere Island’

Kennedy Channel CTD Castings

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

18 July 2009, Saturday

A group of us are doing 4 hour shifts during a ~24 hour set of sea soundings of Conductivity-Temperature-Depth-Current [CTD+C] casting every 2 km across the 38 km Kennedy Channel, the narrowest part of Nares Straits.

Depths have been 150-400 m.

The weather has been quite fair. We joke about pulling up a halibut or a mermaid from the bottom.

Views on either side of the fjord are inspiring; 6400′ mountains on Ellesmere Island to the west.

Red mountains of Ellesmere Land, western Kennedy Channel
Red mountains of Ellesmere Land, western Kennedy Channel

Freshened waters are found in the upper 10-20 meters. We find a cold current at depths from below the surface layer to ~180 meters flowing southward. Below that is a relatively warm current with a complex direction pattern, with a northward component. Right at the bottom of the channel is a cold salty ‘deep water’ signature.

There is very little sea ice, just a sparse collection of small ragged shaped bergy bits floating down the strait ahead of the Arctic Ocean pack ice.

It is quite the task to keep the boat from drifting southward.

Jason E. Box
Byrd Polar Research Center
guest scientist on Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise