A temporary research camp on the ice is established, where they have a range of advanced sensors, weather balloons and research drones to measure the atmosphere and remote sensing instruments to measure ice and snow properties.
The various instruments need gases in advanced chemical measuring processes. Linde was contacted by the University of Colorado, through their partner the University of Tromsø, and has guaranteed regular deliveries of gasses to the supply ships leaving Tromsø harbour to Polarstern.
Linde delivers helium and oxygen for measuring a range of volatile organic and halogenated compounds to better understand chemical reactions that may be important precursors to aerosol and cloud formation. Clouds are thought to be one of the most important, but poorly understood influences on radiation and energy budget in the Arctic.
Argon is used as a carrier gas for gaseous elemental mercury measurements. Mercury is ubiquitous throughout the environment, and the atmosphere is able to transport mercury in gaseous form for hundreds of kilometres. In other words, from source areas as coal power plants or volcanoes at lower latitudes, all the way to the Arctic. The chemistry of the Arctic atmosphere – particularly in the springtime – is such that the Arctic surface can act as a strong sink for atmospheric mercury, acting as the final link in a chain of transport of this dangerous pollutant from source regions to the Arctic food web.
Carbon dioxide/methane is used as standards for instruments that measure the well-known greenhouse gases, to research the balance of production and destruction of these gases taking place in the Arctic, to better understand the global balance of sources and sinks.
Nitrogen is used as an important tool in quality control of instruments and to ensure that all instruments are synced in time.
Nitric oxide is used for measuring ozone, being very important for chemical reactions related to cloud/aerosol formation and for deposition of pollutants such as mercury. Ozone depletion and atmospheric mercury depletion events are related to each other. Nitric oxide (NO) is also used as a standard for measuring nitrogen compounds (NO, NOx, NOy), which again are important parts of the atmospheric chemistry system.