CO2 and pH Studies of the Arctic Ocean

What Are They Doing?

Photo by Bill SchmokerAn underwater view of a CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth instrument). Photo by Bill Schmoker. Global warming and other climate-related processes are rapidly changing the Arctic Ocean. The carbon cycle is of particular concern in the Arctic because it is unknown how carbon sources and sinks will change and whether these changes will lead to increased greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere. Not much is known about the CO2 cycle in the central Arctic Ocean basins because nearly all measurements have been focused on the Arctic coasts during the low ice summer period. The team's contribution will be to collect shipboard CO2 data during these cruises and deploy CO2, pH and oxygen sensors on existing moorings in collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist Rick Krishfield.

The Arctic Ocean is changing rapidly. The changes have important implications for global carbon cycling, global fisheries and ocean acidification. There are many intertwining processes, however, that make future predictions difficult. This project will make important contributions to our understanding of the global carbon cycle and ocean acidification by providing Arctic scientists with high quality carbon cycle data to use in model development and as a baseline for comparison with future carbon parameter measurements.

Where Are They?

Photo by Bill SchmokerThe Canadian Ice Breaker CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent. Photo by Bill Schmoker. The team will be aboard the Canadian Ice Breaker CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent. The ship will come in and out of Kugluktuk, Nunavut in northern Canada. The ship's track will cover a portion of the Beaufort Shelf to the Mackenzie River outflow, then north into the Beaufort Sea and Canada Basin. The team will take commercial airline connections all the way to Kugluktuk. The CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent's helicopter then transports scientists to the ship anchored offshore of Kugluktuk.

Expedition Map


PolarTREC 2017 Orientation
Teaching is all about getting students to change their minds and making connections. The "best" way this happens is students first reflect on what it is they know or think they know about a given topic. Then the student is faced with something they have not seen or been faced with before and ideally it causes conflict in that it contradicts what they know or think they know. At some point students have a chance to try various ways of explaining the contradiction and sooner or later they change their mind. The new explanation does not match what they previously thought they knew, and it is in...
Fairbanks sunrise
Stoked. Its a great word. The most familiar use of the word is of course in reference to stirring up or feeding a fire or a furnace. Then there is the Spicoli Stoked. The reference to the character Jeff Spicoli's (Fast Times at Ridgemont High 1982) "almost zen-like enthusiastic or exhilarated state". The Urban Dictionary points out: "Scholars maintain there is no level of stoked greater or bearing more gravitas than Spicoli Stoked." I am somewhere in between. Stoked because I have arrived and am starting an interesting new chapter in the life as a teacher. Stoked because some new ideas are...

Project Information

15 August 2017 to 15 September 2017
Location: CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, Beaufort Sea
Project Funded Title: An Arctic Ocean sea surface pCO2 and pH observing network

Meet the Team

Dave Jones's picture
Big Sky High School
Missoula, MT
United States

Dave has been a Chemistry teacher at Big Sky High School for twenty-some years and has served as the Science Department Co-Chair for more than a dozen years. Dave came to Big Sky High School with a B.S. in Zoology from Idaho State University (1986) and eventually earned a M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Montana (2000). He has been involved in several inquiry-based curriculum development projects and trainings. Most notable of these has been the Frameworks for Inquiry Chemistry Project with Dr. Mark Cracolice at The University of Montana Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Along with five other Chemistry teachers from around Montana, they developed a unique High School Inquiry Based Chemistry curriculum. Dave has also worked with the Center for Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Montana on air quality related projects designed to bring project based learning experiences to high school chemistry students.

Dave received the 2009 Gustav Ohaus Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, the 2006 NSTA Vernier Technology Award, the 2005 Best Buy TEACH Award, and the 2005 ACS Division of Chemistry Education Northwest Region Teaching Excellence Award.

Dave’s basic science teaching philosophy is that students learn science concepts best when they can relate concepts directly to data from experiments they conduct themselves.

Dave is an avid climber, skier, and biker, and cannot bear the thought of spending his free time indoors.

Mike DeGrandpre's picture
University of Montana
Missoula, MT
United States

Mike DeGrandpre became fascinated with science and chemistry after ruining his mother’s card table with an incendiary chemical reaction at the age of 10. He enrolled in chemical engineering at Montana State University in 1981 and then went on to obtain a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1990. His research at the University of Montana was focused on fiber optic-based chemical sensors. He used this knowledge as a post-doctoral scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to develop a successful CO2 sensor (the “SAMI”) for marine applications. He came to the University of Montana in 1996, to, oddly enough, continue his ocean-focused research. The SAMI sensor technology has been a career-long endeavor, with the development and commercialization of related sensors while also using the sensors in aquatic environments, improving our understanding of the global carbon cycle and ocean acidification. His current research is focused on the Arctic Ocean carbon cycle and development of an autonomous alkalinity sensor.

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Latest Comments

I'm looking forward to hearing about your adventure. Best, Lee
Hi Dave! You are about to embark on your own mind-changing experience! Looking forward to hearing about the connections you make while studying the carbon cycle in the Arctic! So nice to meet you...
There is more on the way. dj On 2/7/17 10:22 AM, PolarTREC wrote:
Good to have you here, Dave! Your picture of the sunrise is amazing, and we are looking forward to see more!
Bottom line there is no such thing as new material. There are experiences that have not been connected to something else in the brain and the key is finding that something else.