Based on the general hypothesis that the atmospheric, oceanic and hydrologic forcing of sea ice variability dictates the nature and magnitude of biogeochemical carbon fluxes on and at the edge of the Mackenzie Shelf, the major objectives of CASES are to assess:

  • The role of hydrologic, oceanographic and meteorological processes in ice growth, decay and transport on the shelf and beyond 
  • The hydrodynamic (including ice and snow cover dynamics) control of Arctic shelf photosynthetic production and its export to the benthos and the pelagic food web
  • The potential impact of increased UV radiation on biological productivity
  • The role of microheterotrophs and mesozooplankton in transforming particulate and dissolved matter on the shelf
  • The fluxes of particulate matter and carbon across the shelf to the deep basins
  • The distribution of riverine and air-borne contaminants in the trophic web
  • The potential impact of a reduction in ice habitat on birds and marine mammals
  • The decadal and millennial variations in ice cover and their impact on ecosystem productivity 
Physical and biological measurements will also be used to constrain and calibrate: 
  • Regional models of climate and ice dynamics in the western Canadian Arctic 
  • Biophysical models of the carbon flows on the Canadian Arctic shelf.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada