Arctic Challenge for Sustainability Project

ArCS Blog

Installation of a spectrometer for atmospheric greenhouse gases on a research vessel “MIRAI” (MIRAI Arctic cruise 2018)

An observational cruise in the Arctic Ocean will be conducted during October 24 to December 7, 2018 by using an oceanographic research vessel “MIRAI” (Photo 1) owned by Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). We visited Sekinehama port on October 22 and 23 to install a continuous observation system and an air sampling system for measurements of the atmospheric greenhouse gases to the R/V “MIRAI”.

Objective of this research is to clarify spatiotemporal distribution of the atmospheric greenhouse gases and related species and investigate the emissions from the sources in the Arctic regions. Lots of researches pointed out that there are potential sources of the greenhouse gases in the Arctic region and global warming would enhance the emissions. Therefore, our study aims to detect the increases in the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the ongoing global warming in the Arctic region in the early stage.

A cavity ring down spectroscopic analyzer (CRDS, PICARRO G2401) was used for the continuous measurement of the atmospheric CO2, CH4, and CO aboard R/V “MIRAI” (Photo 2). The air sample was drawn by a diaphragm pump from an air intake fixed to a front mast on the upper deck (Photo 3) through Dekabon tubing. Then, the air sample was dried by passing through an electronic dehumidifier and a Nafion drying tube and introduced into the CRDS placed in the cabin.

The measurement systems were installed smoothly in the morning of October 22. But, when we started the observation, a serious problem occurred! We found considerable leakage from the sampling pump. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any spare pump nor repair kit of the pump. So, we filled the leaking part with adhesive material (Araldite) (Photo 4). After three hours for the solidification of the adhesive material, we succeeded in fixing the leakage of the sampling pump and restarted the observation. Although we felt our blood freeze when we found the leakage, we were relieved by solving the problem on the spot.

Yasunori Tohjima (NIES / A member of Theme 3)

Photo1: Research vessel “MIRAI” berthed at Sekinehama port

Photo2: CRDS analyzer for measurements of the atmospheric greenhouse gases

Photo3: Air intake for the atmospheric greenhouse gas measurements

Photo4: Sampling pump after filling the leakage part with adhesive material