The expedition embarked from Tromsø, Norway on 6 July and proceeded along the Russian polar sea to Barrow, Alaska. Researchers and crew were changed on 20 August in Barrow, when the second leg of the expedition began. The route back to Scandinavia crossed the Lomonosov Ridge, an underwater mountain chain near the North Pole, and the expedition returned to Tromsø on 4 October.

The main scientific questions concerned the linkages between climate, cryosphere, and carbon – hence the name “C3”. The researchers studied emissions of methane stored in the permafrost on the seabed as well as carbon transport routes in the sea and ice.

The research leader of the first leg, which had the theme “From permafrost thawing to the venting of greenhouse gases”, was Örjan Gustafsson, while the second leg, with the theme “From warming seawater and shrinking sea ice to the venting of greenhouse gases”, was led by Martin Jakobsson. Both research leaders work at Stockholm University.

The researchers onboard the icebreaker Oden were drawn from various institutions, including Stockholm University, the University of Gothenburg, the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), the International Arctic Research Center (IARC), and Rice University.

The icebreaker Oden is a unique research platform which, together with logistical and operational support from the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat, enables a unique opportunity for advanced research in remote areas that are difficult to access. The research was supported by a grant from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

Expedition route

Karta: SWERUS-C3

Principal investigators

Örjan Gustafsson
Department of Applied Environmental Science, Stockholm University

Martin Jakobsson
Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University

Expedition Blogs

A Great Day for the SWERUS-C3 expedition!


On 5 July 2014 at 17:00 local time, an entire 14h ahead of schedule (!), the icebreaker Oden lifted anchor in Tromsöfjord and set course toward the Arctic Ocean. Leg 1 of the Swedish-Russian-US Arctic Ocean Investigation of Climate-Cryosphere-Carbon Interactions (SWERUS-C3), the in total nearly 100-day 70-researcher 2-leg expedition, is on its way.

We are in the ice


Early this morning Oden entered the ice at approx. 79°N, 65°E, north of Novaya Zemlya, at the southern entrance of the St. Anna Trough.



The first buoy is out now.

First station done


After nine days at sea and wrestling our way through the ice, we finally reached our first station on 15 July.

In the middle of the Laptev Sea


Then one more run with the Multicorer. Then two hours steaming. Then repeat the sampling. Then steaming again. Sampling. Steaming. Sampling

Life on the aft deck


Yesterday we anchored in the morning. We arrived to station no. 13, a location that was planned as station no. 15. Plans are adjusted to what we learn and see.

Observing and investigating


So, what have we found in the first couple of days of methane-focused studies?

Our first observations of elevated methane levels, about ten times higher than in background seawater, were documented already as we climbed up the steep continental slope at stations in 500 and 250 m depth. This was somewhat of a surprise.

Mega flare


Mega flare. What is a Mega flare? We hunt Mega flares.

Science in sections; A to B, B to C, C to D etc…


A to B was increasing in intensity. B to C was furious with flares. C to D was easing off. The Laptev Sea is calm. I wonder if it has ever been this calm

D to D done!


D to F to come – today tomorrow and a few days more.

Greetings from Bennett Island


Greetings from researchers and crew onboard the icebreaker Oden outside Bennett Island in the Arctic Ocean.

All has changed


All has changed. Once there was open water – now there is ice.

Still moving east


Still moving east. Some south. Some north. But definitely east. East is towards Point Barrow.

Going home


New crew. New direction. Going west. Going home.

In Barrow, Alaska


The weather here in Barrow is very good with calm wind. The weather is in fact extremely important for the rotation. The weather could easily become our Achilles’ heel!

Going, going, gone…


Everyone onboard is eager to really get going, and it feels good that it won’t take too long before “the real work” can begin.

Voting in Barrow


During the evening 19th August, the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat had arranged so we could vote in the Swedish election, which will take place September 14 when Leg 2 of SWERUS-C3 is still ongoing.

From calm to rough weather


We departed from Barrow according to plan, just after 09:00 local time. The remaining food supplies arrived by boat during the morning. During the entire night, our team responsible for the so called “mid-water sonar” had been busy with calibration procedures.

Greetings from hyperspace!


One week has now officially past since I left for Alaska and the beginning of my journey. I flew out of Denver on a plane full of fishing rods, men in camo and what turned out to be two other expedition participants representing Boulder and the University of Colorado.

Oden’s natural environment


Now we are leaving the open seas and venturing into Oden’s natural environment. We cannot see far in the fog, but the ice is here, and the floes are getting more frequent.

Walrus encounter


First days of surveys in the working area north of Wrangel Island is now over. Our Russian colleagues have completed some long successful survey lines using their electromagnetic system. We are very pleased how well this has worked and excited to eventually see the data over Herald Canyon when it has been processed.

Photos from SWERUS-C3


Photos from the second leg of SWERUS-C3.

Mapping, coring and oceanographic station work in light ice and gale force wind


Instead of sea ice, the wind became our main challenge. Near gale force every second day.

Today is bear day


This last week has been great. I’m spending a lot of time in the container (studio) and am getting somewhere new everyday. This situation is quite beneficial work-wise.

Sediment coring operation overlooked by polar bears


We reached the Arlis Plateau during the evening on September 1st. The planned multibeam survey could start directly.

Greetings from the Arctic Ocean


Greetings from researchers and crew onboard the icebreaker Oden in the Arctic Ocean.

Somewhere further north


Not really sure where we are at the moment, but somewhere further north. I’ve noticed that the nights are getting lighter. We had a gorgeous sunny day (VERY RARE) a while ago and I was hoping for the clear sky to show off a starscape different and brighter than the one at home. It never got quite dark enough though and I’ll have to cross my fingers for starry nights once we head towards the south and October.

The future Arctic Ocean?


We have now completed our shelf transects along the East Siberian Sea shelf following the Leg 2 cruise plan. Who could ever dream of that we would be able to complete all that we wrote into the cruise plan? But the fact is that we have! A big part of this success is due to the extremely light sea ice conditions we have experienced.



Yesterday, we had visitors from the German research vessel Polarstern.

Rendezvous with German research vessel Polarstern


The work in the area of the southern Lomonosov Ridge comprised the last part of the SWERUS-C3 Leg 2 cruise plan. The main idea with this working area, called Box 4, was to link all the research we had done on the shallow shelf to the deep Arctic Ocean setting.

Another piece of the Arctic Ocean glacial puzzle


We reached the sea ice edge over the Lomonosov Ridge at about 85°N 20 September. This location is only 15 nautical miles south from where we crossed the Lomonosov Ridge in 1996 during my first expedition to the Arctic Ocean.

Almost over


Tomorrow I was supposed to turn 30 years old. Funny thing is that my birthday got canceled as we’re turning the clock 14hrs forward! It’s going to be a very late night tonight and then we’ll do our best to sleep over the time change til monday morning. So that Sunday of mine vanished and I’ll just have to stay young.

Movie about SWERUS-C3 (in french)


A movie from the 100 days long SWERUS-C3 expedition in french.


Visit the Polar Research Portal to read about current Swedish expeditions in Antarctica.


The Swedish Polar Research Secretariat and Swedish Research Council have established a shared roadmap for support to research projects in polar regions outside Sweden.