EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The value of expedition-based science for capturing otherwise unobtainable Arctic oceanographical data

Adrian McCallum1 and Kabir Suara2
Adrian McCallum and Kabir Suara
  • 1School of Science, Technology and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Australia (
  • 2Mechanical, Medical and Process Engineering, Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia (

High spatial and temporal resolution oceanographic data from across the Arctic Ocean are essential to better constrain climate models. Ongoing satellite measurements and mooring and autonomous profiler data are valuable, but many regions and temporal periods are inadequately surveyed, particularly outside summer months.

Over-ice scientific research expeditions can address these deficiencies because they are cost-effective and can be utilised at almost any time and at any location to obtain high spatiotemporal resolution data; unique peer-reviewed findings from such expeditions are now being published. For example, recently examined data from the Makarov Basin, obtained in April, during the 2011 Catlin Arctic Survey (McCallum and Suara, 2020) shows a surface mixed layer extending to a depth of ~40 m and buoyancy frequencies exceeding 0.025 s−1, indicating very strong thermohaline stratification, probably due to spring ice melt.

A model for such expedition-based science might comprise: a sympathetic and supportive scientific community, government bureaucracies willing to support and enable more ‘risky’ ventures, and funding bodies, including private industry, who are willing to sponsor and support, relatively inexpensive, high quality polar science.

Future acceptance and utilisation of over-ice scientific research expeditions has the potential to enable the collection of otherwise unobtainable glaciological, oceanographical and meteorological data in poorly sampled spatiotemporal regimes to allow better constraining and development of regional and global climate models.

How to cite: McCallum, A. and Suara, K.: The value of expedition-based science for capturing otherwise unobtainable Arctic oceanographical data, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-1852,, 2021.


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