Catching Climate Change in Progress: Drilling on Circum-Arctic Shelves and Upper Continental Slopes

December 10-11, 2011 – San Francisco, California
Convener: Carolyn Ruppel, Charlie Paull, Jurgen Mienert, Scott Dallimore, Tim Collett, Vladimir Romanovsky

Courtesy UAF-IARC
(N. Shakhova & I. Semiletov)

Executive Summary

The Circum-Arctic Drilling Workshop (CADW) held in late 2011 explored the potential for IODP drilling on Arctic Ocean shelves and upper continental slopes in pursuit of broad paleoclimate and contemporary climate objectives. These objectives include reconstruction of Late Quaternary sea level, sea ice distributions, water temperatures, and paleoceanography, as well as an analysis of the impact of climate change on relict permafrost beneath the shelves and on gas hydrate beneath the shelves or on upper continental slopes. The CADW was held between the Arctic site survey meeting in Europe in autumn 2011 and the Kananaskis IODP workshop on Beaufort Sea drilling in February 2012. The primary recommendations to emerge from the workshop are:

Jon Martin, University of Florida

  • Use circum-Arctic Ocean drilling to explore new scientific problems not previously addressed through scientific ocean drilling (SOD).
  • Take advantage of changing Arctic Ocean conditions (e.g., diminishing summer sea ice) to access new locations for SOD.
  • Emphasize transects (e.g., shelf to slope) to capture the full range of dynamic conditions and records of both spatial and temporal changes across margins.
  • Design programs from the outset to include terrestrial and marine scientists in light of the mixed marine-terrestrial nature of sedimentary records on margins.
  • Build synergies with industry for site survey and for access to specialized platforms.
  • Prioritize sediment records that can constrain sea level history and consider targeting for drilling sections that can yield absolute date markers (e.g., tephras).
  • Pursue questions of relevance to both contemporary climate and paleoclimate.
  • Compare the histories of different Arctic Ocean margins (e.g., range of glaciation and inundation histories).
  • Identify locations that could be ready for drilling within the next decade with little additional site survey data collection.
  • Continue to investigate synergies with Russia.

Workshop Report (PDF 1.6MB)
Eos Report (PDF 238KB)

Steering Committee

Carolyn Ruppel (chair), U.S. Geological Survey, Coastal and Marine Geology
Vladimir Romanovsky (co-chair), University of Alaska Fairbanks
Charlie Paull, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Jürgen Mienert, University of Tromsø
Scott Dallimore , Geological Survey of Canada, Pacific Geoscience Center
Timothy Collett, U.S. Geological Survey, Energy Research Program

Workshop Sponsors

IODP U.S. Science Support Program
U.S. Geological Survey Gas Hydrates Project