The motivation for the ISSS-08 was to alleviate the extreme scarcity of observational data on transport and processing of fresh water, heat, carbon, and sediment on the East Siberian Arctic Shelves (ESAS), composed of the Laptev, East-Siberian and the Russian part of Chukchi Sea, which is the most enigmatic and understudied part of the Arctic Ocean.

The ISSS-08 started from Archangel’sk, Russia on August 13th and visited Kirkenes, Norway for mobilization. Today, one month later, we would say that a complex sample and data collection program was already accomplished using two vessels by participants from 12 organizations in Russia, Sweden, USA, and UK.

The main vessel Yacob Smirniskyi traveled the entire length of the Siberian coast from Kirkenes to Herald Canyon, Chukchi Sea and back along the outer shelf. On September 26th, the Yacob Smirniskyi plans to arrive at Kirkenes and do a few additional micro-polygons in East Siberian Arctic Shelf. A side vessel, TB-0012, investigated in detail the Lena River and the eastern shallow Laptev Sea. The total number of complex stations is around two hundred. Continuous sea surface measurements, air-sea measurements/samplings, and greenhouse gas flux observations are also underway along the ship tracks.

At-sea findings included the discovery of several new areas of substantial methane seeps. We also recorded Pacific inflow through Long Strait and Herald Canyon and remnants of salty and cold bottom waters on the East Siberian shelf break.

The ISSS-08 cruise is a the major IPY ship-based program taking place along the entire Eurasian-Arctic continental shelf with combined biogeochemical and geophysical observations.

Igor Semiletov
Chief Scientist