Oceanologia No. 59 (4 / 17)



Original research article

Research notes

Original research article

Kongsfjorden and Hornsund hydrography – comparative study based on a multiyear survey in fjords of west Spitsbergen
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 397-412

Agnieszka Promińska*, Małgorzata Cisek, Waldemar Walczowski
Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: promyk@iopan.pl
*corresponding author

keywords: Hornsund; Kongsfjorden; Summer hydrography; Atlantic Water Transports

Received 14 July 2016, Accepted 7 July 2017, Available online 25 July 2017


A recent study has shown increased warming in the fjords of west Spitsbergen. Their location is critical, as they are situated along the main northward pathway of Atlantic Water (AW) which is a great source of heat to the Arctic Ocean and the fjords. In the light of ongoing warming, we aim to discuss differences between the fjords under northward transformation of oceanic waters. We compared summer hydrographic conditions in two fjords located in two opposite ends of west Spistbergen: Hornsund in the south and Kongsfjorden in the north. The study is based on high resolution CTD measurements collected during Arctic cruises between 2001 and 2015. The emphasis was put not only on differences in water temperature, salinity and water masses but also the freshwater content (FWC), AW transport and heat delivery to the fjords. In general, the water in Kongsfjorden is on average 1°C warmer and its salinity is higher by 0.5 compared to Hornsund. It is also characterized by two times greater transport of AW and heat delivery to the fjord. On the other hand, Hornsund reveals two times higher FWC. Both fjords undergo a gradual warming due to an increased presence of Atlantic origin waters. The ongoing warming is accompanied by an increase in variability of temperature and salinity dependent on the domination of the Sørkapp Current (SC) or the West Spitsbergen Current (WSC) on the West Spitsbergen Shelf (WSS). Nonetheless, Hornsund remains more Arctic-type fjord compared to Kongsfjorden, due to stronger blocking by SC.
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Comparison of meteorological conditions in Svalbard fjords: Hornsund and Kongsfjorden
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 413-421

Małgorzata Cisek*, Przemysław Makuch, Tomasz Petelski

Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: gosiak@iopan.gda.pl
*corresponding author

keywords: Arctic meteorology; GAME; Svalbard

Received 11 May 2017, Accepted 30 June 2017, Available online 18 July 2017


This paper presents the results of a comparison of basic meteorological parameters in two Arctic fjords situated on the west coast of Spitsbergen, the main island of the Svalbard archipelago. Air temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity and cloud cover from the period 2005 to 2016 are described and compared with previous (from 1975) analyses of meteorological conditions in the investigated region. Such a choice of dates coincides with the time the GAME project measurements were carried out. The main goal of this study was to compare meteorological conditions in two fjords: Hornsund and Kongsfjorden, during the time of rapid climate changes. The results are collated with research results available in literature from previous years. We discovered that in the investigated period the climate of the Hornsund region is more oceanic than in Kongsfjorden. The stable level of the difference in climate elements is manifested and is evident mainly through greater amplitudes in air temperatures in Kongsfjorden, and in stronger winds in Hornsund.
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Aerosol Optical Depth variations due to local breeze circulation in Kongsfjorden, Spitsbergen
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 422-430

Małgorzata Cisek*, Tomasz Petelski, Tymon Zieliński, Przemysław Makuch, Paulina Pakszys, Anna Rozwadowska, Piotr Markuszewski1,2
Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: gosiak@iopan.gda.pl
*corresponding author

keywords: Aerosol Optical Depth; Regional aerosol modifications; Breeze circulation; Svalbard

Received 9 July 2016, Accepted 6 April 2017, Available online 24 May 2017


This paper presents the results of Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) studies which took place in Ny-Ålesund in the spring of 2014 during the iAREA campaign. The measurements were taken using Microtops II hand-held sunphotometers along the Kongsfjorden, on a path leading from the research village to the fjord opening. Local breeze circulation was observed during the measurement campaign which resulted in an evident increase of AOD along the measurement profile towards the open sea. Using the observed AOD, changes over the open sea have been calculated and the location of the breeze front has been determined.
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Aerosol optical properties over Svalbard: a comparison between Ny-Ålesund and Hornsund
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 431-444

Paulina Pakszys*, Tymon Zieliński
Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: pakszys@iopan.gda.pl
*corresponding author

keywords: Arctic aerosols; Optical properties; Spitsbergen fjords; Regional aerosol modifications; CAMS model

Received 30 August 2016, Accepted 12 May 2017, Available online 22 June 2017


This paper presents the CAMS model based aerosol optical properties calculated for two Spitsbergen fjords, Kongsfjorden (Ny-Ålesund) and Hornsund (Polish Polar Station in Hornsund) measured between 2010 and 2015. A small decrease in Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) is shown throughout the study period leading to an alteration of the state of the polar atmosphere. However, the potential differences observed between the stations were not statistically significant. While during the studied period no significant differences in chemical composition between the stations were observed, increasing mean values of Black Carbon (BC) were found to be associated with an increasing number of wild forest fires in remote areas producing smoke plumes, which are further transported over vast distances and reach Spitsbergen.
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Monthly dynamics of carbon dioxide exchange across the sea surface of the Arctic Ocean in response to changes in gas transfer velocity and partial pressure of CO2 in 2010
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 445-459

Iwona Wróbel
Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: iwrobel@iopan.gda.pl

keywords: Partial pressure of CO2; Gas transfer velocity; Arctic fjord; Air–sea CO2 fluxes; Greenland and Barents seas

Received 5 July 2016, Accepted 17 May 2017, Available online 7 June 2017


The Arctic Ocean (AO) is an important basin for global oceanic carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake, but the mechanisms controlling air–sea gas fluxes are not fully understood, especially over short and long timescales. The oceanic sink of CO2 is an important part of the global carbon budget. Previous studies have shown that in the AO differences in the partial pressure of CO2pCO2) and gas transfer velocity (k) both contribute significantly to interannual air–sea CO2 flux variability, but that k is unimportant for multidecadal variability. This study combined Earth Observation (EO) data collected in 2010 with the in situ pCO2 dataset from Takahashi et al. (2009) (T09) using a recently developed software toolbox called FluxEngine to determine the importance of k and ΔpCO2 on CO2 budgets in two regions of the AO – the Greenland Sea (GS) and the Barents Sea (BS) with their continental margins. Results from the study indicate that the variability in wind speed and, hence, the gas transfer velocity, generally play a major role in determining the temporal variability of CO2 uptake, while variability in monthly ΔpCO2 plays a major role spatially, with some exceptions.
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Aerosol physical properties in Spitsbergen's fjords: Hornsund and Kongsfjorden during AREX campaigns in 2014 and 2015
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 460-472

Piotr Markuszewski1,2,*, Anna Rozwadowska3, Małgorzata Cisek1, Przemysław Makuch1, Tomasz Petelski1
1Physical Oceanography Department, Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: pmarkusz@iopan.gda.pl
2 Centre for Polar Studies National Leading Research Centre, Sosnowiec, Poland
3Marine Physics Department, Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland

keywords: Arctic aerosol; Sea spray; Black carbon concentration; Scattering coefficient; Ångström exponent

Received 11 July 2016, Accepted 1 March 2017, Available online 25 May 2017.


We present results of measurements of aerosol physical properties conducted on board of r/v Oceania during two cruises to the Spitsbergen region in 2014 (AREX 2014) and 2015 (AREX 2015). Measurements of aerosol size distribution, aerosol scattering coefficient and black carbon concentrations were made in two different Spitsbergen fjords: Hornsund and Kongsfjorden. The aerosol size distribution was measured in the size range from 0.09 μm to 47 μm using two aerosol size distribution spectrometers and a standard condensation particle counter. For the scattering coefficient an integrating nephelometer was used. Black carbon concentration was measured by an aethalometer. Temporal variabilities in physical properties of aerosol observed during the AREX 2014 and AREX 2015 campaigns were much higher than the differences between both fjords. The basic factors influencing aerosol conditions were advection and local generation of marine aerosol. In 2015 an episode of smoke advection was observed in both fjords causing an increase in the mean black carbon concentration from 7–12 ng m−3 to about 60 ng m−3, and an aerosol scattering coefficient at 550 nm from 2–4 Mm−1 to 12–17 Mm−1. Moreover, under certain conditions statistically significant gradients in aerosol optical properties were observed along the fjord axis reflecting an impact of mountains surrounding the fjords.
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Modelling of the Svalbard fjord Hornsund
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 473-495

Jaromir Jakacki1,*, Anna Przyborska1, Szymon Kosecki, Arild Sundfjord2, Jon Albretsen3
1Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: jjakacki@iopan.gda.pl
*corresponding author
2Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway
3Institute of Marine Research, Bergen, Norway

keywords: Hydrodynamic model Fjord circulation; Heat and salt content and anomalies; Hornsund model

Received 14 July 2016, Accepted 5 April 2017, Available online 20 May 2017


The Arctic Ocean is currently in transition towards a new, warmer state. Understanding the regional variability of oceanographic conditions is important, since they have a direct impact on local ecosystems. This work discusses the implementation of a hydrodynamic model for Hornsund, the southernmost fjord of western Svalbard. Despite its location, Hornsund has a stronger Arctic signature than other Svalbard fjords. The model was validated against available data, and the seasonal mean circulation was obtained from numerical simulations. Two main general circulation regimes have been detected in the fjord. The winter circulation represents a typical closed fjord system, while in summer the fresh water discharge from the catchment area generates a surface layer with a net flow out of Hornsund. Also described are the local hydrographic front and its seasonal variability, as well as the heat and salt content in Hornsund. The integration of salt and heat anomalies provides additional information about the salt flux into the innermost basin of the fjord - Brepollen during the summer. Extensive in situ observations have been collected in Hornsund for the last two decades but our hydrodynamic model is the first ever implemented for this area. While at the moment in situ observations better represent the state of this fjord's environment and the location of measurements, a numerical model, despite its flaws, can provide a more comprehensive image of the entire fjord's physical state. In situ observations and numerical simulations should therefore be regarded as complementary tools, with models enabling a better interpretation and understanding of experimental data.
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Comparison of bacterial production in the water column between two Arctic fjords, Hornsund and Kongsfjorden (West Spitsbergen)
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 496-507

Anetta Ameryk1,*, Katarzyna M. Jankowska2,*, Agnieszka Kalinowska2,*, Jan M. Węsławski3,*
1National Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Department of Fisheries Oceanography and Marine Ecology, Gdynia, Poland;
e-mail: aameryk@mir.gdynia.pl
*corresponding author
2Gdańsk University of Technology, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Gdańsk, Poland;
e-mail: kjank@pg.gda.pl, agnieszka.kalinowska@poczta.onet.pl
3Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: weslaw@iopan.gda.pl

keywords: Bacterial production; Arctic fjords; Spitsbergen; Hornsund; Kongsfjorden

Received 15 August 2016, Accepted 10 June 2017, Available online 1 July 2017


Bacterial production and the accompanying environmental factors were measured in the water columns of two Arctic fjords during the cruise in July and August 2013. Water samples were collected at six stations located in the central part of Hornsund and Kongsfjorden. In Hornsund, where average water temperatures were 1.25-fold lower than in Kongsfjorden, the bacterial production was twice as high (0.116 ± 0.102 vs 0.05 ± 0.03 mg C m−3 h−1). Statistical analysis indicated that chlorophyll a concentration itself was not a significant factor that affected bacterial production, in contrast to its decomposition product, pheophytin, originating from senescent algal cells or herbivorous activity of zooplankton. Single and multiple regression analysis revealed that water temperature, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and pheophytin concentration were the main factors affecting bacterial production in both fjords.
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Zooplankton structure in high latitude fjords with contrasting oceanography (Hornsund and Kongsfjorden, Spitsbergen)
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 508-524

Mateusz Roman Ormańczyk*, Marta Głuchowska, Anna Olszewska, Sławomir Kwaśniewski
Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: ormanczyk@iopan.gda.pl

keywords: Zooplankton; Arctic; Taxonomic composition; Size structure; Biogeographic and trophic affinity; Atlantic water influence

Received 6 September 2016, Accepted 19 June 2017, Available online 13 July 2017


Zooplankton inhabiting the Hornsund and Kongsfjorden fjords on Spitsbergen (Svalbard) were investigated in summer 2013. The goal of the study was to determine how the zooplankton communities vary in environments functioning under different oceanographic regimes. Sampling was conducted with nets of different mesh size and selectivity (56 μm WP-2, 180 μm MultiNet, and 1000 μm Tucker Trawl), which permitted comparing a wide size spectrum of zooplankton components. Species composition did not differ substantially between the fjords, but the zooplankton in Hornsund was almost two times less numerous, and it had lower biomass per unit volume. The highest abundance at both sites was in the smallest zooplankton size fraction found only in samples taken with 56 μm mesh WP-2 net. These comprised as much as 71% and 58% of the total zooplankton abundance in Hornsund and Kongsfjorden, respectively. The communities in both fjords had comparable contributions of Arctic and boreo-Arctic species biomass in the year of the study. However, the comparison of zooplankton characteristics over several years showed changes in abundance and biogeographic structure that corresponded with variations in the physical environments of the fjords. The results of the study permit predicting the possible effects of the increasing influence of Atlantic waters on zooplankton communities inhabiting Arctic marine pelagic ecosystems.
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Impact of shelf-transformed waters (STW) on foraminiferal assemblages in the outwash and glacial fjords of Adventfjorden and Hornsund, Svalbard
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 508-524

Natalia Szymańska*, Joanna Pawłowska, Małgorzata Kucharska, Agnieszka Kujawa, Magdalena Łącka, Marek Zajączkowski
Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: natalia@iopan.gda.pl
*corresponding author

keywords: Arctic; Fjords; Foraminifera

Received 11 July 2016, Accepted 11 April 2017, Available online 30 May 2017


A new dataset of benthic foraminiferal assemblages from Adventfjorden (tributary fjord of Isfjorden, West Spitsbergen) was compared with the results of a study conducted by Zajączkowski et al. (2010) in Hornsund (West Spitsbergen). According to Nilsen et al. (2016), Atlantic water inflow to the Isfjorden Trough occurs more readily than to anywhere else along the shelf of Spitsbergen; thus, we compared the foraminiferal assemblages of the outwash Adventfjorden fjord, located in the Isfjorden system, with glacial Hornsund, located in southwest Spitsbergen. Despite the juxtaposition of Adventfjorden and Hornsund the data revealed varying impacts of shelf-transformed water (STW) on the benthic foraminiferal assemblages. Outer and central Adventfjorden was dominated by Adercotryma glomerata, Recurvoides turbinata and Spiroplectammina sp., reflecting the presence of STW, while abundant Melonis barleeanus in the central area of the fjord indicated a large flux of unaltered organic matter. Only the head of the fjord was dominated by the glaciomarine taxa Cassidulina reniforme and Elphidium clavatum. Foraminiferal fauna characteristic of STW-influenced environments (i.e., Nonionellina labradorica and R. turbinata) were also observed in outer Hornsund. However, the glacier-proximal taxa E. clavatum and C. reniforme were dominant throughout the fjord, demonstrating the impacts of meltwater and high sedimentation. Therefore, it is likely that in Hornsund, glacial impact is a major environmental factor, which is stronger than the influence of STW.
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The malacostracan fauna of two Arctic fjords (west Spitsbergen): the diversity and distribution patterns of its pelagic and benthic components
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 541-564

Joanna Legeżyńska, Maria Włodarska-Kowalczuk, Marta Głuchowska, Mateusz Ormańczyk, Monika Kędra, Jan Marcin Węsławski3,*
Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: zosia@iopan.gda.pl
*corresponding author

keywords: Malacostraca; Arctic; Svalbard; Diversity; Distribution

Received 14 July 2016, Accepted 6 January 2017, Available online 9 March 2017


This study examines the performance of pelagic and benthic Malacostraca in two glacial fjords of west Spitsbergen: Kongsfjorden, strongly influenced by warm Atlantic waters, and Hornsund which, because of the strong impact of the cold Sørkapp Current, has more of an Arctic character. The material was collected during 12 summer expeditions organized from 1997 to 2013. In all, 24 pelagic and 116 benthic taxa were recorded, most of them widely distributed Arctic-boreal species. The advection of different water masses from the shelf had a direct impact on the structure of the pelagic Malacostraca communities, resulting in the clear dominance of the sub-arctic hyperiid amphipod Themisto abyssorum in Kongsfjorden and the great abundance of Decapoda larvae in Hornsund. The taxonomic, functional and size compositions of the benthic malacostracan assemblages varied between the two fjords, and also between the glacier-proximate inner bays and the main fjord basins, as a result of the varying dominance patterns of the same assemblage of species. There was a significant drop in species richness in the strongly disturbed glacial bays of both fjords, but only in Hornsund was this accompanied by a significant decrease in density and diversity, probably due to greater isolation and poorer quality of sediment organic matter in its innermost basin. Our results suggest that the diversity and distribution of benthic malacostracans in these two fjords are only distantly related to the different hydrological regimes; rather, they are governed by locally acting factors, such as depth, sediment type, the variety of microhabitats and the availability and quality of food.
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Benthic Crustacea and Mollusca distribution in Arctic fjord – case study of patterns in Hornsund, Svalbard
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 565-575

Anna Drewnik1,2,*, Jan Marcin Węsławski1, Maria Włodarska-Kowalczuk1
1Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: drewnik.anna@gmail.com
*corresponding author
2GIS Centre, University of Gdańsk, Poland

keywords: Arctic; Fjord; Benthos; Species distribution modeling; Near-bottom waters

Received 26 September 2016, Accepted 6 January 2017, Available online 4 July 2017


We present the results of species distribution modeling conducted on macrobenthic occurrence data collected between 2002 and 2014 in Arctic fjord – Hornsund. We focus on species from Mollusca and Crustacea taxa. This study investigates the importance of individual environmental factors for benthic species distribution, with a special emphasis on bottom water temperature. It aims to verify the hypothesis that the distribution of species is controlled by low water temperatures in the fjord and that the inner basins of the fjord serve as potential refugia for Arctic species threatened by the climate change-related intensification of warmer water inflows. Our results confirm the importance of bottom water temperature in regulating the presence of benthic fauna in the Hornsund fjord. The distribution of studied species is clearly related to specific water mass – colder (<1°C) or warmer (>1°C); and the preferred temperature regimes seem to be species specific and unrelated to analyzed groups. This study supports the notion that inner basins of the Hornsund fjord are potential refugia for cold water Arctic fauna, while the outer and central basins provide suitable habitats for fauna that prefer warmer waters.
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Age, growth rate, and otolith growth of polar cod (Boreogadus saida) in two fjords of Svalbard, Kongsfjorden and Rijpfjorden
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 576-584

Dariusz P. Fey1,*, Jan M. Węsławski2,*
1National Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Gdynia, Poland;
e-mail: dfey@mir.gdynia.pl
*corresponding author
2Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: weslaw@iopan.gda.pl

keywords: Arctic; Fish growth; Annual rings; Sagitta

Received 18 January 2017, Accepted 2 April 2017, Available online 19 April 2017


This work presents biological information for polar cod (Boreogadus saida) collected with a Campelen 1800 shrimp bottom trawl in Kongsfjorden (two stations located in the inner part of the fjord adjacent to the glacier) and Rijpfjorden (one station at the entrance to the fjord) in September and October 2013. The otolith-based ages of polar cod collected in Kongsfjorden (6.1–24 cm total length TL; n = 813) ranged from 0 to 4 years. The growth rate was relatively constant at approximately 4.7 cm year−1 between years 1 and 4, which indicates that growth was fast in the glacier area. The ages of polar cod collected in Rijpfjorden (8.6–15.9 cm TL; n = 64) ranged from 2 to 3 years. The fish from Rijpfjorden were smaller at age than those from Kongsfjorden, and their growth rate between years 2 and 3 (no other age classes were available) was approximately 3.3 cm year−1. In both fjords, males and females were of the same size-at-age and the same weight-at-TL. The small sampling area means that the results on growth rate are not representative of the entire fjords. Instead, the results can be discussed as presenting the possible growth rates of some populations. A strong relationship was identified between otolith size (length and weight) and fish size (TL and TW), with no differences between males and females or the fjords. A significant, strong relationship was also noted between fish and otolith growth rates.
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Acoustical estimation of fish distribution and abundance in two Spitsbergen fjords
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 585-591

Joanna Szczucka1,*, Łukasz Hoppe1, Beata Schmidt2, Dariusz P. Fey2
1Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: szczucka@iopan.gda.pl
*corresponding author
2National Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Gdynia, Poland

keywords: Arctic fish; Multifrequency acoustics; West Spitsbergen

Received 13 July 2016, Accepted 11 April 2017, Available online 28 May 2017


Over recent decades, the Arctic region has been subjected to rapid climate change stemming from global warming. The advance of Atlantic waters to high latitudes is notable. The increased abundance of fish, such as cod (Gadus morhua) and haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), has been reported near the western coast of Spitsbergen and entering fjords together with Atlantic waters. This study used multifrequency acoustics to measure fish distribution and abundance in 2013–2014 in two Arctic fjords, the colder Hornsund, which is typically of Arctic character, and the warmer Kongsfjorden, which is more of Atlantic character. The study revealed a bimodal fish size distribution with larger fish in the deep parts of fjords, and smaller fish distributed in more shallow waters. An evident increase in the abundance of large fish, most probably Atlantic cod, was observed in Hornsund and especially in Kongsfjorden in 2014 in comparison to 2013. The intense inflow of Atlantic water on the shelf in 2014 is suggested as the explanation for this phenomenon.
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Ecosystem maturation follows the warming of the Arctic fjords
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 592-602

Jan Marcin Węsławski1,*, Friedrich Buchholz2, Marta Głuchowska1, Agata Weydmann1,3
1Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: weslaw@iopan.gda.pl
*corresponding author
2Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
3Institute of Oceanography, University of Gdańsk, Gdynia, Poland

keywords: Climate change; Regime shift; Biodiversity; Arctic; Svalbard; Fjords

Received 8 July 2016, Accepted 3 February 2017, Available online 24 May 2017


Two fjords in West Spitsbergen (Hornsund 77°N and Kongsfjorden 79°N) differ with regard to their exposure towards increasingly warm Atlantic water inflow. Hornsund remains in many respects cooler than Kongsfjorden (on average 2°C SST in summer) and is less influenced by warmer and more saline Atlantic waters. Reported changes in the physical environment (temperature rise, freshwater inflow, salinity drop, turbidity, fast-ice reduction, coastal change) are discussed in the context of biological observations in the pelagic and benthic realms with special reference to krill (Euphausiacea). We conclude that well-documented changes in the physical environment have had little effect on the fjord biota and that both organisms and their ecological functions in the fjords are well adapted to the scale of ongoing change. The observed changes fit the definition of ecosystem maturation, with greater diversity, a more complex food web and dispersed energy flow at the warmer site.
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Research notes

Can seabirds modify carbon burial in fjords?
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 603-611

Jan Marcin Węsławski1,*, Jacek Urbański3, Marta Głuchowska1, Katarzyna Grzelak1, Lech Kotwicki1, Sławomir Kwaśniewski1, Joanna Legeżyńska1, Józef Wiktor1, Maria Włodarska-Kowalczuk1, Agata Zaborska1, Marek Zajączkowski1, Lech Stempniewicz2
1Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: weslaw@iopan.gda.pl
*corresponding author
2Department of Vertebrate Ecology and Zoology, University of Gdańsk, Poland
3GIS Centre, University of Gdańsk, Poland

keywords: Arctic; Svalbard; Fjords; Carbon; Seabirds

Received 8 July 2016, Accepted 30 January 2017, Available online 7 June 2017


Two high latitude fjords of Spitsbergen (Hornsund 77°N and Kongsfjorden 79°N) are regarded as being highly productive (70 g and 50 gC m−2 year−1) and having organic-rich sediments. Hornsund has more organic matter in its sediments (8%), nearly half of it of terrestrial origin, while most of that in Kongsfjorden (5%) comes from fresh, marine sources (microplankton). Analysis of the carbon sources in both fjords shows that a major difference is the much larger seabird population in Hornsund-dominated with over 100 thousands pairs of plankton feeding little auks in Hornsund versus 2 thousand pairs in Kongsfjorden, and marine food consumption estimated as 5573 tonnes of carbon in Hornsund, versus 3047 tonnes in Kongsfjorden during one month of chick feeding period. Seabird colonies supply rich ornithogenic tundra (595 tonnes of C, as against only 266 tonnes of C in the Kongsfjorden tundra). No much of the terrestrial carbon, flushed out or wind-blown to the fjord, is consumed on the seabed – a state of affairs that is reflected by the low metabolic activity of bacteria and benthos and the lower benthic biomass in Hornsund than in Kongsfjorden.
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Svalbard as a study model of future High Arctic coastal environments in a warming world
Oceanologia 2017, 59(4), 612-619

Jacek Piskozub
Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland;
e-mail: piskozub@iopan.gda.pl

keywords: Arctic; Svalbard; Climate; Temperature; Sea-ice; Clouds

Received 22 June 2017, Accepted 29 June 2017, Available online 18 July 2017


Svalbard archipelago, a high latitude area in a region undergoing rapid climate change, is relatively easily accessible for field research. This makes the fjords of Spitsbergen, its largest island, some of the best studied Arctic coastal areas. This paper aims at answering the question of how climatically diverse the fjords are, and how representative they are for the expected future Arctic diminishing range of seasonal sea-ice. This study uses a meteorological reanalysis, sea surface temperature climatology, and the results of a recent one-year meteorological campaign in Spitsbergen to determine the seasonal differences between different Spitsbergen fjords, as well as the sea water temperature and ice ranges around Svalbard in recent years. The results show that Spitsbergen fjords have diverse seasonal patterns of air temperature due to differences in the SST of the adjacent ocean, and different cloudiness. The sea water temperatures and ice concentrations around Svalbard in recent years are similar to what is expected most of the Arctic coastal areas in the second half of this century. This makes Spitsbergen a unique field study model of the conditions expected in future warmer High Arctic.
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