On 5 July 2014 at 17:00 local time, an entire 14h ahead of schedule (!), the icebreaker Oden lifted anchor in Tromsöfjord and set course toward the Arctic Ocean. Leg 1 of the Swedish-Russian-US Arctic Ocean Investigation of Climate-Cryosphere-Carbon Interactions (SWERUS-C3), the in total nearly 100-day 70-researcher 2-leg expedition, is on its way.
We left this evening Tromsö – the Gateway to the Arctic – with its still snow-ladened fjells drenched in sun underneath a clear blue sky. With a fantastically supportive and competent crew onboard Oden, described by the journal Science as “the World’s most capable polar-class research vessel”, top-notch observational and sampling research infrastructure, a highly-qualified and well-balanced shipboard scientific party, we are so ready to grasp this golden opportunity to address some of the most urgent yet challenging questions in earth system research.
SWERUS-C3 has several objectives centered in the “C3” and we have good hopes to return massive new knowledge on central topics, including on the sources, fluxes and functioning of the extensive releases of the strong greenhouse gas methane from the thawing subsea permafrost and collapsing frozen methane (hydrates), which earlier findings of SWERUS-C3 scientists have documented.
As we exit the fjord mouth and the sun is moving a little lower, the steady rhythm of the oceanic swell lures us to sleep this first night at sea.