The FAABulous project (studying Future Arctic Algae Blooms – and their role in the context of climate change) was this winter/spring challenged by historically little sea ice in Arctic areas, in particular in the European sector, including Svalbard and the Barents Sea (for scientific data on the sea ice extent and the related temperature anomalies check out these sites: https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/, and http://cci-reanalyzer.org/Reanalysis_daily/).
The planned sea ice-based field work had to be cancelled, and we needed a plan B to capture this highly unusual situation that presents us a truly future situation that we would not have expected to experience already now.
Luckily, we got granted cruise time on the coast guard vessel KV Svalbard at the end of April.
We went to the almost completely ice-free van Mijenfjorden to take samples of phytoplankton and zooplankton, as well as CTD data along a transect from the innermost part of the fjord until the fjord mouth. We found a strong diatom-dominated spring bloom in the outermost part of the fjord, while the water temperature in the inner basins was still below 0°C, and the chl a concentrations were very low. For more details about the cruise, see here (link to field campaigns), as well as https://www.facebook.com/Akvaplan, or https://www.facebook.com/UNIS.Svalbard/