Tor Gammelsrød
Professor i Oseanografi, Geofysisk Institutt, UiB

Current research activities

International Polar Year (IPY)
I am co-ordinating an international initiative for the IPY period (2007 – 2010) called Bipolar Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation (BIAC). This is IPY cluster # 23 and includes 3 expeditions to the Antarctic and several expeditions in the Arctic.

The Barents Sea is defined as the dense water factory of the Arctic. Warm Atlantic water flowing into the area via the Barents Sea Opening (BSO) between Norway and Bjørnøya is transformed to cold, dense bottom water flowing into the Artcic Ocean between Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlja, the Barents Sea Exit (BSX).

Warming of the abyss of the Nordic Seas
The longest deep water time series in the world, obtained at the weather ship MIKE (66°N, 2°E) reveals a dramatic warming in the 1990's. This is related to the reduction of the deep water formation in the Greenland Sea.

Super-cooled water is formed underneath the floating glaciers in the Antarctic. This cold water is called Ice Shelf Water (ISW) . Some of this water exits the sub ice cavity and spills down the continental slope particularly in the Weddell Sea in the Atlantic sector. Several years of current measurements show that when penetrating downwards towards great ocean depths it mixes with the overlaying water to form Antarctic Bottom Water. This water dominating the abyss of the world ocean and is one of the ‘motors’ driving the global thermohaline circulation.

Melting and circulation underneath the floating Antarctic Ice Shelf
A hot issue in climate research today is how the Antarctic Ice sheet reacts to global warming. If it melts the sea level will rise by several decades of meters. Several expeditions to the Weddell Sea have provided an extensive data set for the hydrographic conditions near the Filchner - Ronne Ice Shelves, including more than one year long records of current, salinity and temperature. These data are used to deduce circulation and melting underneath the Ice Shelves.

I have been working with Mozambican colleagues since the middle of the 1980’s. The most important income in foreign currency for Mozambique is the shrimp fisheries on the Sofala Bank. We found that the catch rates were influenced by the Zambezi River run-off, and that the regulation of the River had a negative influence on the fisheries.

 In 2008 we started a co-operation with Universidade Eduardo Mondlane to build up a School in Marine Sciences in Quelimane supported by the NOMA program. The first 4 MSc students graduated in August 2010. A second cohort of 14 students started their studies in July 2010 with a total of 14 students. A 3rd cohort will be recruited in 2012. The figure is taken from one of the first MSc thesis and shows a giant current gyres Mozambican Channel obtained from satellite sea surface height (black arrows) and ADCP current measurements from R/V Fridtjof Nansen in December 2008 (cyan arrows).

Benguela Niño
The Atlantic version of El Niño. This is a joint effort between South Africa, Namibia, Angola and Norway. Here you will find more about the Atlantic el Nino

I am also teaching at UNIS Svalbard. We are taking the students out on the ice to study the movement and melting of the ice. The fact that the ice extent in the Arctic has reduced substantially is a threat for the Polar bear. Some times the Polar bear is a threat to our students.


Tor Gammelsrød
Kontor: Østfløy 208
Geofysisk Institutt
Allégaten 70, 5007 Bergen

Telefon: 55 58 26 95/55582602
Fax: 55 58 98 83

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© GFI 13:21 27/01/2000. Sist oppdatert 07/12/2005