Ocean Dynamics Beaufort Sea

What Are They Doing?

Most of the time, prevailing winds cause a huge area of the Beaufort Sea to circulate in a clockwise (anticyclonic) direction; this circulation is know as the Beaufort Gyre. The Beaufort Gyre contains the major reservoir of fresh water stored in the Arctic Ocean, and learning more about how the Beaufort Gyre accumulates and releases fresh water as conditions change will improve understanding of ocean circulation in the Arctic Ocean.

The Beaufort Gyre team measured ice thickness, ocean temperature, salinity, and bottom pressure by deploying and retrieving bottom-tethered moorings. Other moorings, known as ice-tethered profilers, were attached to the sea ice to observe and broadcast ocean properties in real time. The Beaufort Gyre Expedition was part of the Joint Ocean Ice Study being conducted on a Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker in collaboration with scientists from the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Canada and JAMSTEC in Japan. The research team has worked in this area on annual cruises with scientists from Canada, the U.S., China, and Japan since 2003. Click here to go to the Beaufort Gyre Exploration Project Page.

Where Are They?

The team traveled to and from Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Canada where they used a helicopter to board the Canadian Icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent. From there they traveled north into the Beaufort Sea.

Expedition Map


Home. I arrived at RDU about 10:30PM Friday night. My husband and I hugged, my sons carried my luggage and my daughter did not let go of my hand for a long time. I slept for 2 days, awoke Monday morning and went to school. I met my advisory for the first time. The Ward Advisory: DA 2008-09 I met my classes. I talked about vertebrates and barrier islands. I packed for the beach trip. I went to Pine Knoll Shores, North Carolina for 4 days with 95 8th graders. We learned about shore ecology and about each other. The Ward Advisory at the beach! Upon returning to school, I learned...
LSSL Ship's Log: 19082008 2209- Rosette secured on board.  Underway to Kugluktuk,  485 nautical miles. At 2210 on 19 Aug 2008, Third Mate Marian Punch piped, "We have finished work at the last science station.  We are going home." After 32 days at sea, we are coming home.   We have seen and done some amazing things.  I have experienced so many "firsts" that I cannot list them all. Thank you to Rick Krishfield of WHOI who applied for a PolarTREC teacher, giving me the opportunity to join him on this expedition.  Thank  you to Rick, Will and Jim for allowing me to join...
After taking on fuel we are steaming to our last set of stations at 72N, 133W. This route will be through the last ice of the cruise. We had to go 13 miles out of our way to go around this huge floe. I am fascinated by the ice so I am spending the last hours possible observing the ice. Many have remarked on how much less ice there is up here compared to recent years. I want to be sure I see all I can. This journal has two short movies about ice. Heart in the ice So long, for now, from the ice-breaker LSSL! Breaking Ice http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEWhvExfvfM Water and Ice at...
We have been here at 69N, 133W waiting for the fuel barge for the past 24 hours. It is late. While it is frustrating to have to wait, this situation reminds us that it is not worth getting worked up over something we cannot control. We use the time to catch up on data analysis and to pack. Finally the barge arrives. While watching the fuel barge hook up might not be so fascinating under normal circumstances, we have been waiting for it, and it offers something new in the landscape. The barge holds 1 million liters of fuel, *half* of what we will take on. The barge is tied up to the...
We are currently anchored at 69.50N, 133.12W waiting for a fuel barge.  It is calm with broken clouds, a perfect time to go up top to the Crows Nest.  Above the Bridge stands the highest point on the ship, the yellow Crow's Nest. Before electronics, ship navigation was done by sight. One person stayed up in the crow's nest, a platform or barrel attached to the main mast, to keep watch.  In rough seas, the Crow's Nest moves quite a bit.  Think of a pendulum-- the ship is the base and the Crow's Nest is the bob, moving back and forth, back and forth.  In rough weather, this swing can be...

Expedition Resources

Project Information

16 July 2008 to 21 August 2008
Location: Beaufort Sea
Project Funded Title: Beaufort Gyre Observing System

Meet the Team

Gerty Ward's picture
Durham Academy
Durham, NC
United States

Gerty Cori Ward grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. Camping was a family tradition, and she spent summers canoe tripping through Algonquin Park in Ontario, Canada. She comes from a family with a strong scientific tradition (her grandparents shared the 1947 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on the biochemistry of carbohydrates), but after graduation from Vassar College with a degree in Economics, she worked in the finance industry. After three years the call of destiny was simply too strong, so she went back to school and earned a Ph.D. in molecular genetics from North Carolina State University. As an adult, after wearing many hats, she became a science teacher to strengthen the connection between scientists in the field and students in the classroom. Ms. Ward now happily teaches middle school science at Durham Academy in Durham, North Carolina. Her classroom motto is, "when in doubt, doubt!" and she hopes to empower her students to look critically at the scientific claims that shape our world.

Rick Krishfield's picture
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole, MA
United States

Rick Krishfield works for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. His scientific expertise includes arctic oceanography and biogeochemistry, air-ice-ocean interactions, and ice flow dynamics and kinematics. Mr. Krishfield has extensive field experience in the Arctic. He hopes that Ms. Ward will bring a fresh viewpoint and help to interest the general public and school children in scientific research.

Andrey Proshutinsky's picture
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole, MA
United States

Andrey Proshutinsky is the Principal Investigator of the Beaufort Gyre Exploration program and a Senior Scientist in WHOI's Physical Oceanography Department. Dr. Proshutinsky has more than 25 years of experience studying the Arctic Seas, and has produced numerous publications concerning regional oceanography and meteorology, climate change, numerical modeling of ice and water dynamics, Arctic Ocean tides and storm surges, and Northern Sea Route climatology and navigation conditions.