Marine Research Institute

Reykjavík, Iceland



(February 1999)


The B02-99 cruise was carried out by the Marine Research Institute (MRI) on the RV Bjarni Sæmundsson with the following aims:

  1. To carry out long-term hydrographic investigations on standard sections in the waters all around Iceland. The work included CTD-casts together with sampling for nutrient and oxygen analysis. Included in the observation work is MRI's role in VEINS, a program with the objective of measuring and modeling the variability of fluxes between the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic with view on implementing a longer term system of measurements needed to understand the high-latitude oceans steering role in decadal climate variability. Funding is provided by the EU MAST-III programme and the participants in the project. The work on this cruise was part of the following VEINS tasks:

    1. Determining the water mass properties of the Denmark Strait Overflow. (Task 1.4.2)
    2. Improving estimation of the freshwater flux to the North Atlantic via the East Greenland Current and East Icelandic Current. (Task 1.4.3)
    3. Measuring the inflow of Atlantic Water to the Iceland Sea. (Task 1.4.4)

  2. Recover a VEINS ADCP mooring in the Denmark Strait Overflow Water (UK1, VEINS task 1.4.1).

  3. Collect water samples for determination of total carbonate, oxygen and nutrients. These samples are for time series which are intended to show variability with time and carbon-nutrient relationships.

  4. Deploy 3 standard SVP-B WOCE drifters for the European Group on Ocean Stations (EGOS) program.

  5. Sea-bird ecology.

  6. Collect samples for analysis of Cesium-137, Technetium-99 and Iodine-129 (Icelandic Radiation Protection Institute and Risø National Laboratory).


The RV Bjarni Sæmundsson left Reykjavík harbor at 2000 hours on February 8th 1999 for the B02-99 cruise.

The vessel headed for the Faxaflói section ( Figure 1) towards East Greenland occupying the first twenty CTD stations; on behalf of the British VEINS group a deep ADCP mooring on the East Greenland continental slope was recovered (Robert R. Dickson, Lowestoft). The ship then headed for the Látrabjarg section and to port in the town Isafjörður. From there the ship headed for the Kögur section, where only three stations were accessible due to drift-ice conditions. A little farther east mooring section IS8 (Hornbanki) between 67°20'N and 66°40'N was fulfilled as well as the Siglunes section except the northernmost station (68°N) due to unfavorable weather conditions -storm and icing- which drove the ship into shelter in the town of Husavík. From there the ship went northeastwards to the Langanes NE and Langanes E sections, the latter being incomplete due to weather conditions. Again shelter was necessary this time in Seyðisfjörður on the east coast for three days due to northerly storms all around Iceland and heavy icing in the waters from the northwestern to the northeastern parts.

After Seyðisfjörður the vessel continued eastwards into the Norwegian Sea (the Krossanes section) and from there westwards into south Icelandic waters (Stokksnes, Ingólfshöfði and Selvogsbanki sections). After eighteen days the RV arrived to Reykjavik at 1500 hours on the 25th of February 1999.

Sections confined to VEINS are those of Faxaflói, Látrabjarg, Kögur, Langanes NE and Krossanes. Locations of hydrographic sections and CTD stations are shown in Figure 1 as well as location of the ADCP mooring in VEINS 1.4.1 (UK1, indicated by m). The three SVP-B drifters were deployed on stations 45, 47 and 49 respectively, and surface water samples in a programme for monitoring of radioactive tracers in the Nordic seas were taken on stations 58 and 88.


The hydrographic work was carried out with a CTD-water sampling units equipped with a Seabird Inc. SBE 911plus CTD's. The unit, a MRI made rosette equipped with 12 modified Hydro-Bios 1.7 liter water bottles and a General Oceanics underwater unit, was used on all CTD stations. The CTD was equipped with newly calibrated temperature and conductivity sensors and water samples were collected at deepest sampling level on all stations for calibration purposes.

CTD (SBE 911plus CTD System) Sensor Status.

	    Temp. Calibr.  Cond. Calibr.     Pres.
	   sensor date    sensor date        sensor

Unit A       1172 15-10-98   549 15-10-98    35944


Samples for oxygen measurements were collected in 60 ml bottles, and Winkler reagents added. Samples were then placed in a dark cold storage until the time of analysis. Oxygen concentration was determined using a modified Winkler method.
Samples for nutrient analysis, nitrate, phosphate and silicate, were collected on selected stations, in 250 ml polyethylene bottles. Samples were freezed, for later analysis in land on a ChemLab auto-analyzer.
Samples for pCO2 and total carbonate were collected on 2 stations in 500 and 250 ml bottles, preserved with mercury chloride and placed in cold storage.


During the B02-99 cruise the following current meter mooring was serviced and deployed (VEINS tasks 1.4.1).

St.id.	     Position       Water Instr. Type           Serial  Date    Notes
	Lat.	  Lon.	    depth depth			no.
UK 1	63 31.80N 36 28.50W 1809  botm	 ADCP               	110299	recovered


All of the goals of the cruise were achieved (see list of stations and cruise track-Figure 1) despite rather harsh weather conditions including those of VEINS plans, except the outermost stations of the Látrabjarg and Kögur sections due to drift-ice conditions in the Denmark Strait area.

The main results of the hydrographic conditions in Icelandic waters in February 1999 were the following (see e.g. Fig. 13a , Fig. 13b , Fig. 14a , Fig. 14b , and Fig. 15 ):

The Atlantic Water (Irminger Current) south and west of Iceland showed relatively high temperature (6-7.5°C) and salinities (35.00-35.20), the high salinities being in accordance with those since 1997 which were higher than during the years before or even since the sixties-seventies. However, a slight tendency to decreased temperatures and salinities compared to findings in 1998 seem to occur. In the Denmark Strait area the drift-ice was found to be relatively near to the NW peninsula of Iceland as in 1998 despite a relatively warm and saline inflow eastwards into North Icelandic waters with salinities of 34.9-34.95 and temperatures of 2-4°C, decreasing eastwards. The boundaries to the cold waters from the north (<0°C) were at the shelf-break as frequently.

In the shelf waters east of Iceland temperatures and salinities were about 2°C and 34.7, which is slightly below normal, and deeper off the cold East Icelandic Current showed-up slightly stronger than in 1998 (0°C, <34.7), and no evidence of warm water from the south was observed this time on the Krossanes section. South of the boundary between the cold and warm water of the southeast coast and along the south coast high saline Atlantic Water was found in the near coastal area. Thus, the hydrographic conditions in Icelandic waters in February 1999 were in general quite favorable but slightly less so than in February 1998.

The overall results of interest for the VEINS project are relatively strong input of Atlantic Water from the south all the way to the flow into North Icelandic waters and on the other hand a slightly increased input of the cold East Icelandic Current east of Iceland compared to findings in 1998.

Preliminary TS-diagrams from the Faxaflói , Látrabjarg , Kögur , Siglunes , Langanes NE , Langanes E , Krossanes , Stokksnes and Selvogsbanki sections show the results above. In addition are preliminary potential temperature and salinity sections shown for Faxaflói (Fig. 3a and Fig. 3b), Látrabjarg (Fig. 4a and Fig. 4b), Kögur (Fig. 5a and Fig. 5b), Siglunes (Fig. 6a and Fig. 6b), Langanes NE (Fig. 7a and Fig. 7b), Langanes E (Fig. 8a and Fig. 8b), Krossanes (Fig. 9a and Fig. 9b), Stokksnes (Fig. 10a and Fig. 10b) and Selvogsbanki (Fig. 11a and Fig. 11b) sections respectively, of which Figures 3, 4, 5, 8 and 10 are part of the VEINS programme.

Another potential temperature and salinity sections have been included in this report showing the Hornbanki Section (Mooring Section IS8) (Fig. 12a and Fig. 12b). For location of the above sections see Figure 1 and the station numbers.


In case of further information contact:

Svend-Aage Malmberg Email: svam@hafro.is
Jóhannes Briem Email: briem@hafro.is
Héðinn Valdimarsson Email: hv@hafro.is
John Mortensen Email: johnm@hafro.is

or by mail:

Att. name
(Marine Research Institute)
P.O. Box 1390
Skúlagata 4
121 Reykjavík


Tel. (+354) 55 20240
Fax. (+354) 56 23790

Comments and suggestions regarding this page are welcome. Please send email to johnm@hafro.is