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ISotopic and physical-chemical MOnitoring of GLACial drainages and sea water in the Ny-Ålesund area (Svalbard) (ISMOGLAC)

The project concerns an isotopic and physical-chemical monitoring of inland glacial drainages and ocean water into Kongsfjorden. It is aimed at defining the dynamic processes of the glacial melting and evaluating the consequent transfers of fresh water towards the Arctic Ocean.

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Project date

Starts
2015-06-25

Ends
2020-09-30

Project status

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Project type

  • field work
  • long-term monitoring

Discipline

  • cryosphere
  • other

Project Keywords

  • oceans / ocean chemistry / stable isotopes
  • terrestrial hydrosphere / water quality/water chemistry / water ion concentration
  • climate indicators / cryospheric indicators / ice growth/melt
  • terrestrial hydrosphere / water quality/water chemistry / stable isotopes

Fieldwork information

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Summary

The monitoring of glacial meltwater, which are transferred to the ocean, can represent a valid tool to understand the climate conditions and their change and effects. Previous studies, carried out on meltwater in Arctic regions by using tracer tests and hydrological observation, suggest that the hydrological system of the glacial bodies can evolve significantly as the melt season advances. This may increase the velocity of ice masses, allowing them to respond much more rapidly to climatic warming. This project (ISMOGLAC) is aimed at defining the dynamic processes of the glacial melting and evaluating the consequent transfers of fresh water towards the Arctic Ocean. The activities that will be carried out to accomplish these goals consist of an isotopic and physical-chemical monitoring of inland glacial drainages and ocean water into Kongsfjorden. The field work will consist of sampling and measurements on water, which will be performed both inland and into Kongsfjorden. A preliminary distribution of the work sites has been planned. Nevertheless, the real locations of sampling and measurement points will be decided onsite, after checking local conditions and logistical issues. Further details can be determined later, by knowing the activities of other project to which this research can be related. The inland field-work will be carried out on the glaciers, where sampling and measurements could regard meltwater channels, lakes and open moulins and crevasses. Water points will be also examined on the proglacial rivers up to the sea. Sea water sampling will be performed in several points moving from the Ny-Ålesund coast line towards the inner part of the fjord. The sampling activity will regard the collection of various aliquots of waters, taken both inland and into the fjord, in order to analyze the following parameters: 1) water isotopes signature (?18O, ?2H and 3H); 2) TDIC isotopes (?13C e ?18O of the Total Dissolved Inorganic Carbon); 3) concentration of the main, minor and trace chemical components (with particular attention towards those inserted within the priority list of the European Community). Before collecting samples in the inland area, measurements of temperature, electrical conductivity, pH, flow rate, together with geographical coordinates and altitude will be performed in each sampling site, by using suitable and portable instruments. Also, total alkalinity will be determined by means of acidimetric titration, using HCl (0.01N) as a titrant and methyl-orange as pH indicator. At the sampling points in the fjord, a multiparametric probe will be used in order to perform vertical profiles of temperature, pH, electrical conductivity, redox potential and dissolved oxygen. In some vertical profiles, a dissolved gas sampling will be performed in order to determine CO2, Ar, O2, N2, CH4 concentrations. Given the aims of the project, these activities will be repeated over a period of several years (at least 4-5 years), thus providing to achieve information both on the seasonal and medium periods evolution of glacial melting.

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