Marine Research Institute

Reykjavík, Iceland



(May-June 1999)


The B07-99 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 hydro-biological investigations on standard sections in the waters all around Iceland. The work included CTD-casts together with sampling for nutrient and oxygen-analysis, as well as sampling for phytoplankton and zooplankton studies. Included in the observation work is the 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. Service an Aanderaa current meter mooring on the shelf east of Kögur section (IS8, VEINS task 1.4.4) and recover four Aanderaa current meter moorings NE and E of Iceland in the East Icelandic Current (LNA1, LNA2, KR4 and KR6, VEINS task 1.4.3).

  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. Continuous measuring of surface temperature and salinity, to complement data from the occupied stations.

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

  6. Service of a sediment trap mooring

  7. Collect samples for genetic analysis of Calanus finmarchicus.


The RV Bjarni Sæmundsson left Reykjavík harbor at 2000 hours on the 17th of May 1999 for the B07-99 cruise.

The vessel headed for the Faxaflói section towards East Greenland, from there to the Látrabjarg and then to the Kögur sections in the Denmark Strait, where bad weather hampered the work and not all the standard stations could be reached including the service of the VEINS current meter mooring IS8 and the Hornbanki section. The vessel then headed eastwards into North Icelandic waters to the Húnaflói, Siglunes, Langanes NE, Langanes E and Krossanes sections, recovering 4 VEINS current meter moorings in the East Icelandic Current. From there the vessel headed for the Stokksnes, Ingólfhöfði, Háfadjúp and Selvogsbanki sections and arrived to Reykjavik at 1000 hour on June the 3th 1999.

Sections confined to VEINS are those of Faxaflói, Látrabjarg, Kögur, Langanes NE and Krossanes. Locations of hydrographic sections and current meter moorings (IS8, LNA1, LNA2, KR4 and KR6, indicated by m, VEINS task 1.4.3 and 1.4.4) are shown in Figure 1.


The hydrographic work was carried out with a CTD-water sampling unit equipped with a Seabird Inc. SBE 911plus CTD. The sampling 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 standard CTD stations. During the cruise two Seabird Inc. SBE 911plus CTD units were used both in combination with a Sea-Tec fluorometer and a transmissometer. Both CTD units made use of the same 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.
	   sensor date    sensor date

Unit A       2021 17-02-99  1643 19-02-99


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 6 stations in 500 and 250 ml bottles, preserved with mercury chloride and placed in cold storage.
Samples for delta carbon-13 were collected at 2 stations as full profile. The samples were preserved with mercury chloride.
Samples for oxygen-18 were collected at 2 stations as full profile.


During the B07-99 cruise the following current meter moorings were serviced (VEINS task 1.4.3).

St. id.		Position    Water Instr. Type	        Serial	Date	Notes
	Lat.	  Lon.	    depth depth			no.
LNA-1	67 05.00N 13 45.00W  722    80	 Aanderaa RCM7  10858	280599	recovered
LNA-1	67 05.00N 13 45.00W  722   300	 Aanderaa RCM7  11986	280599	recovered
LNA-2	67 30.00N 13 16.00W 1712    80	 Aanderaa RCM7  12307	280599	recovered
LNA-2	67 30.00N 13 16.00W 1712   300	 Aanderaa RCM7  12306	280599	recovered
LNA-2	67 30.00N 13 16.00W 1712  1665	 Aanderaa RCM7   6934	280599	recovered
KR-6	65 00.00N 09 00.00W 1375   100	 Aanderaa RCM7  12310	290599	recovered
KR-6	65 00.00N 09 00.00W 1375   300	 Aanderaa RCM7  12309	290599	recovered
KR-6	65 00.00N 09 00.00W 1375  1321	 Aanderaa RCM7  12305	290599	recovered
KR-4	65 08.60N 11 11.07W  626   150	 Aanderaa RCM7  12308	300599	recovered
KR-4	65 08.60N 11 11.07W  626   265	 Aanderaa RCM7  00172	300599	recovered


Most of the goals of the cruise were achieved except the following: (see list of stations and cruise track-Figure 1)

  1. Only 2 hydrographic stations were carried out on the Kögur-section and none at the Hornbanki section due to bad weather in the Denmark Strait area.

  2. A one year-long mooring station on shelf east of Kögur section (IS8, VEINS task 1.4.4) was not serviced, due to bad weather in the area.

Click your way through the cruise track , i.e. by clicking in the left or right part of the section name you will get potential temperature or salinity sections of the section respectively.

The main result of the hydrographic observations in Icelandic waters in Spring (May-June) 1999 were the following (see e.g. Fig. 12a , Fig. 12b , Fig. 13a , Fig. 13b , and Fig. 14 ):

The Atlantic Water (Irminger Current) south and west of Iceland showed high temperatures (7-8°C) as well as salinities (35.0-35.25). These conditions are a continuation of findings from 1997 which revealed values higher than ever found since the early sixties. Further more the inflow of Atlantic water into North Icelandic waters was this spring quite pronounced reaching the area east of Siglunes (3-5°C, > 35.0) and stronger than in previous years even as far back as 1980. It even reached values as high as 34.8 in salinity east of Langanes NE. Also, no cold and low saline water in the surface layer was observed as had been the case during the last 3 to 4 years. Farther off at the shelf break in North Icelandic waters the cold (0-2°C) Polar/Arctic water was found as usual. In the shelf area east of Iceland temperatures were about 2°C and salinities were relatively high (>34.7) except along the coast. Further off the cold East Icelandic Current ("cold tongue") showed-up to be shallow and weak both in hydrographic conditions and even extension (>0°C, ~34.7). Also the Atlantic conditions from the south on the Krossanes section were this spring weak and farther off-shore than in 1998.

Nutrient content, primary production and zooplankton concentrations were as usual depended on each other, but at different stages in different areas. The overall results indicate a relatively high productivity in Icelandic waters in spring 1999, not at least due to the pronounced nutrient rich Atlantic water including its inflow into North Icelandic waters without any low saline surface layer. At last in overall agreement with the hydrographic results no drift-ice was observed during the spring cruise 1999.

The overall results of interest for the VEINS project are the continuation of the pronounced high levels of heat and salt in the Atlantic Water mass south and west of Iceland. Compared with earlier observations, it have now in 1999 also reached North Icelandic waters and even replaced the cold and low saline surface layer which has been dominating the north since 1995. The East Icelandic Current on the other hand was observed to be shallow with temperatures above 0°C and salinities around 34.7. Finally a large overflow pulse was evident in the Faxaflói section at ca. 2000m depth of water ( figure 3a ) which according to theory can occur only if there are strong cyclonic motions above it, assuming that the pulse or dense lens is isolated and situated on a sloping bottom. Its influence on the water column above is clearly seen as downward doming of e.g. the isotherms. The overflow pulse was stratified and consisted of three layers: A 50m thick bottom layer with S~34.87 and theta~0.52°C; above a homogenous 130m salinity minimums layer with S~34.835 and theta~0.84°C, ending up with a ca. 250m thick temperature stratified layer (0.92°C< theta <2.6°C) with a salinity of ca. 34.87. Due to the relative coarse station spacing (25 km apart) it is difficult to say anything certain about dimensions of the pulse except that the diameter of the pulse must be less than 50 km and its vertical extent more than ca. 450m. The VEINS mooring section ca. 160 km downstream can perhaps give additional information on the subject. Under the assumption that the pulse travels with a mean speed of 0.3m/s it may have arrived at this VEINS mooring site around May 26th, 1999.

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 Figure 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9 are part of the VEINS programme.

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