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Analyze the impact of climate change on the fjord aboard an icebreaker

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The icebreaker Amundsen, owned by the Canadian Coast Guard, is a very special ship: it contains 22 laboratories and work spaces for scientists.

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Scientists left the Port of Saguenay terminal on Thursday noon aboard the only Canadian icebreaker dedicated to research. They will lead a 15-day expedition on the Saguenay Fjord to examine the impact of climate change on the ice.

In this mission, we will study the role of the ice and how it fragments when it thins with climate change, its vulnerability to waves, to the fact that its extent is less, explains Dany Dumont, who leads the mission organized by the Réseau Québec maritime, an organization participating in the development of research for more sustainable maritime activities.

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Dany Dumont is associate scientific director of the Transforming Climate Action program at the University of Quebec at Rimouski (UQAR).

We are trying to understand the Saguenay ecosystem, its role in the climate, so we are going to work as much on the ice as in the water column, on the sediments, we are going to sample in different places, adds the researcher from the University of Quebec at Rimouski (UQAR). Underwater drones will, for example, be used to take images of the seabed.

The information collected will make it possible to produce digital climate models.

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Transformed for research purposes in 2002, the icebreaker Amundsen, owned by the Canadian Coast Guard, is a very special vessel: it contains 22 laboratories and workspaces.

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It can thus accommodate all researchers from the University of Quebec at Rimouski (UQAR), Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia), Laval University (Quebec) and Memorial University (Newfoundland) who are part of the journey.

We work with several teams from several institutions. […] We bring together people who work in many aspects of the environment, whether physics, biology, geochemistry, indicates Maude Boissonneault, coordinator of scientific missions for the Réseau Québec maritime .

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Last winter in the Bay of Ha! Ha!, the thickness of the ice layer covering the body of water has reached 39 centimeters (15 inches), according to data from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Since 2013, the average is sixty-three centimeters (24 inches).

Because the objective is not only to study the repercussions of global warming on the ice. In all, 13 research projects will be carried out, one of which will aim to understand the consequences of commercial navigation in the waters of the Saguenay River.

We are trying to look not only at the impacts that there could already be. As we use the fjord, we suspect that there are impacts to look at. […] We also make a baseline to see in the future, if we make increased use, will there be changes or not?, explains Maude Boissonneault.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Interestingly, artists also navigate the waters of the fjord to ensure a different perspective on the issues, in the words of Maude Boissonneault. The mission aims to break down the silos between creation and science. Videos and images will also be captured and broadcast on social networks so that Internet users can participate in the experience.

With information from Roby St-Gelais

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