Joint Ocean Ice Studies

Joint Ocean Ice Studies

This year’s Joint Ocean Ice Studies (JOIS) expedition takes place from September 7 to October 4, 2018. Established in 2003, JOIS is an international collaboration between Canada, the United States and Japan that monitors oceanographic conditions in the Arctic via an annual month-long, scientific expedition aboard the icebreaker CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent.

The program forms an important Canadian contribution to international Arctic climate research through the Beaufort Gyre Exploration Project (BGEP), a partnership with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists, and the Pan-Arctic Climate Investigation (PACI), a co-operation with Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) scientists.

Led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientist, Dr. Bill Williams, JOIS conducts annual surveys in the Beaufort Gyre – a portion of the southern Canada Basin, north of Alaska and the Yukon, whose water circulates in a predominantly clockwise direction. The study seeks to understand the impacts of climate change on the physical and geochemical environment of the Beaufort Gyre, as well as the corresponding biological responses.

The data collected is used to link perturbations in the Arctic to changes observed in the Beaufort Gyre, such as variations in freshwater content and sources, ice cover properties and distribution, water mass properties and distribution, ocean circulation, and ocean acidification.

Research Functions and Themes

During these expeditions, the two primary functions is the deployment of an array of oceanographic moorings and sea ice-buoys to form a year-round Arctic Observing Network, and the completion of physical, geochemical, and biological sampling to monitor oceanographic conditions and ecosystems structure, and to understand their response to climate change.

The following priority areas of cooperation were identified and adopted by JOIS:

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Oceanography
  • Climate Change
  • Biological Observations
  • Contribution to Understanding the Potential Effects of Oil and Gas Exploitation
Research Highlights

Since its launch in 2003, over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers have been published using JOIS data. A few research highlights include:

  • The confirmation of the loss of old multi-year ice, thinning of the ice packs, and increases in summertime open water.
  • A dramatic increase in the storage of fresh water in the gyre from arctic rivers due to anomalously persistent anticyclonic winds and ice-melt leading to:
    • the surface waters becoming corrosive to shelled organisms (acidification);
    • further suppression of biological productivity in the gyre; and
    • an ecosystem shift towards smaller plankton.
  • Descriptions of the ecosystem’s lower trophic levels in the context of the gyre’s strong stratification and weak nutrient fluxes.
  • Collaborations

    The Canada’s Three Oceans (C3O) Project (2007-2011): In partnership with the ongoing Joint Ocean Ice Studies (JOIS), the C3O team – including scientists from Canadian and foreign governments, as well as academia – set out to gather integrated, multidisciplinary baseline information on the physical, chemical, and biological structure of subarctic and Arctic waters around Canada. This baseline provides:

    • a solid foundation for assessing and quantifying ongoing and future changes to both the self and basin regions of the western Arctic Ocean;
    • valuable knowledge for addressing emerging issues such as warming, ice cover retreat, acidification, species invasion and hypoxia; and
    • a form basis for practicing good governance and decision-making relation to the management and conservation of species and for adapting to the changing Arctic.
    2018 Team Members
    Principal Investigators on board
    • Sarah Zimmerman, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institute of Ocean Sciences (IOS)
    • Chris Clarke, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, IOS
    • Marty Davelaar, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, IOS
    • Mike Dempsey, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, IOS
    • Edmand Fok, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, IOS
    • Tamara Fraser, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, IOS
    • Cassandra Konecny, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, IOS
    • Francesca Loro, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, IOS
    • Sarah-Ann Quesnel, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, IOS
    • Peter van Buren, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, IOS
    • Cory Beatty, University of Montana
    • Cassie DeFrancesco, Trent University
    • Thomas Grevesse, Concordia University
    • Celine Gueguen, Trent University
    • Jessica Kenigson, Yale University
    • Rick Krishfield, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    • Sayaka Kumakawa, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology
    • Nico Llanos, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    • Matt Miller, University of Victoria
    • Adam Monier, Laval University
    • Jeff O'Brien, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    • Hayato Okuda, Kitami Institute of Technology
    • Deo Onda, Laval University
    • Jim Ryder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    • Kazutoshi Sato, Kitami Institute of Technology
    • Hugo Richard Sindelar IV, Ocean Media Institute
    • Marshall Swartz, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    • Kazu Tateyama, Kitami Institute of Technology
    • Yuanxin Zhang, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology
    • Jasmine (Jian) Zhu, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    Principal Investigators on shore
    • Bill Williams, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institute of Ocean Sciences (IOS)
    • John Nelson, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, IOS
    • John Smith, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography
    • Svein Vagle, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, IOS
    • Jennifer Hutchings, Oregon State University
    • Motoyo Itoh, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology
    • Takashi Kikuchi, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology
    • Connie Lovejoy, Laval University
    • Shigeto Nishino, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology
    • Don Perovich, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory
    • Andrey Proshutinsky, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    • Rachel Stanley, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    • Mary-Louise Timmermans, Yale University
    • John Toole, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    • Philippe Tortell, University of British Columbia
    • David Walsh, Concordia University

    Expedition Reports

    The dispatches for every expedition are also publically available at WHOI’s Beaufort Gyre Exploration Project website.

    Photo gallery

    Our Scientists – From Coast to Coast to Coast – Sarah Zimmermann

    Our Scientists – From Coast to Coast to Coast – Sarah Zimmermann

    Our Scientists – From Coast to Coast to Coast – Stephen Page

    Our Scientists – From Coast to Coast to Coast – Stephen Page

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