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How does ice feed the oceans?

9 August 2017

Project ICY-LAB (‘Isotope CYcling in the LABrador Sea’), led by Kate Hendry (School of Earth Sciences), came to an end this week, as the research vessel, the RRS Discovery, returned to UK waters.

The aims of ICY-LAB were to investigate the influence of meltwater, coming from the Greenland Ice Sheet, on the supply of nutrients to the oceans and how this, in turn, impacts marine biology. Kate and her team will be using geochemistry, together with physical and biological data, to investigate the cycling of these important nutrients.

The scientific crew spent about five weeks at sea, mostly near the western coast of Greenland, sampling waters, sediments and marine life using a range of cutting-edge technologies.

A Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) took high-definition, real time videos of the seafloor and samples of marine life, water and sediments.

Two underwater gliders were also deployed. These ‘flew’ around for several days collecting high-resolution information about the seawater, such as its temperature, salinity, and how much algae is growing.

The team, including several international collaborators, will now bring back all the samples for further analysis over the next few months.