Cruise with the coast guard

Last year the EcoSens project went to Marifjøra in Sogn to investigate the green colored Gaupnefjorden. Its color comes from large amounts of meltwater from several nearby glaciers.

This year we hoped to find green colored water from an Emiliania huxleyi bloom. And the timing couldn’t have been better! We applied for cruise time with the coast guard in 2021, and were awarded 4 days from May 19-22. We got excited when satellite images showed the bloom had started a couple of weeks earlier, but were also worried it might end before we had a chance to go on the water. However, the bloom just kept increasing, and when it was time, Hardangerfjorden had “never” been greener! What luck!

Part of the team who went on the cruise with “KV Tor”. From left: Anna Mathea Skar, Børge Hamre, Elinor Tessin and Håkon Sandven.

A fast-going patrol boat (HPB) with a cruising speed of 35 knots picked up the researchers at Krokeide kai in the morning and transported them to «KV Tor», waiting at the first measuring station. The HPB and the light-boat «Sjøbjørn» were also used for deploying instruments at sub-stations for measuring scattering and absorption of light in the water.

What a beautiful sight. The boat in the picture is the fast-going patrol boat, belonging to the coast guard vessel “KV Tor”.

PI of EcoSens, Arne Skodvin Kristoffersen and PhD student Elinor Tessin enjoying life in the field.

Every day about 100 liters of water samples were collected for filtration at the lab back at the department. It will be very interesting to compare data from glacial meltwater to the algae bloom. Two very different particle types resulting in a quite similar color change of the western Norwegian fjord waters!

A satellite image of Hardangerfjorden with our measuring stations marked as yellow stars. The bloom was most intense near Rosendal, and we also measured near Austevoll for a comparison to water without a bloom.

The coast guard was very cooperative and took their “mission” very seriously. We were served delicious meals twice a day and were transported back to land in the evening. A very exciting and different week for us!

In addition to Kristoffersen and Tessin, the delegation consisted of Håkon Sandven, Børge Hamre, Yi-Chun Chen, HTEK-student Anna Mathea Skar and Espen Storheim from Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center.

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