Canadian Arctic GEOTRACES

Location or Study Area: The Canadian Arctic Ocean
Submitted by: Dr. Feiyue Wang


The international GEOTRACES program ( involves more than 30 nations. Developed under the oversight of the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), the goal of GEOTRACES is to understand the large-scale oceanic distribution, biogeochemical cycles and climate-sensitivity of selected Trace Elements and Isotopes (TEIs) that regulate or serve as tracers for critical biogeochemical and physical processes. Its central field component is a series of sampling cruises to measure the global distribution of the selected TEIs across all ocean basins. Recognizing the rapid climate-mediated changes occurring in the Arctic, the international GEOTRACES community has identified an urgent need for an Arctic-specific sampling program. As part of a pan-Arctic GEOTRACES field campaign, the Canadian Arctic GEOTRACES program contributes to the efforts of producing an unprecedented synoptic picture of the Arctic Ocean’s biogeochemistry, as well as address specifically the crucial connection between the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean through the Canada Basin and Canadian Arctic Archipelago. 

Project Description

Funded by the NSERC CCAR program, the overarching research goal of the Canadian Arctic GEOTRACES project is to use geochemical tracers to fill critical gaps in our understanding of fundamental physical and biogeochemical processes in the Canadian Arctic Ocean and their sensitivity to projected climate change and economic development. The field campaign took place in the summer/fall of 2015 with the CCGS Amundsen. Field measurements and onboard experimentation are carried out from the Labrador Sea to the Canada Basin, traversing Baffin Bay, the CAA and the Beaufort Sea. The TEIs studied include Fe, Al, Mn, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb, Hg, Ba, 129I, 230Th, 231Pa, radiogenic Pb and Nd isotopes, stable N and O isotopes (in nitrate), stable C isotopes (in dissolved inorganic carbon), marine particles, and aerosols. Results from the tracer measurements, incubations and physical process study are used to develop a new generation of coupled physical – biogeochemical models of the CAA capable of better resolving climate-change impacts on this region. 





Principal Investigators (CEOS): Dr. Feiyue Wang
Program Lead: Dr. Roger Francois (UBC)

UM Participants (list):
Kathleen Munson, Kang Wang, Wen Xu, Ashley Elliott
Others (list):  Roger Francois, Philippe Tortell, Jay Cullen, and many others across the country

Funding/Other Support


For more information contact: Dr. Feiyue Wang

Fig. 1

Sampling stations of the Canadian Arctic GEOTRACES. Credit: Feiyue Wang.

Fig. 2
Snow and ice sampling from the "cage". Credit: Kang Wang.

Fig. 3
Seawater sampling from the rosette. Credit: Kang Wang.

Fig. 4
Sample processing at the Portable In-situ Laboratory for Mercury Speciation (PILMS) aboard the CCGS Amundsen. Credit: Kang Wang.