The Nansen Legacy provides an integrated scien­tific knowledge base required for the sustainable management through the 21st century of the environment and marine resources of the Barents Sea and adjacent Arctic Basin.


The Nansen Legacy will pursue its vision by addressing the following overarching objectives:  

  1. Improve the scientific basis for sustainable management of natural resources beyond the present ice edge
  2. Characterize the main human impacts, physical drivers, and intrinsic operation of the changing Barents Sea ecosystems – past, present, and future
  3. Explore and exploit the prognostic mechanisms governing weather, climate and ecosystem, including predictive capabilities and constraining uncertainties
  4. Optimize the use of emerging technologies, logistic capabilities, research recruitment and stakeholder interaction to explore and manage the emerging Arctic Ocean.

Project Summary

The Nansen Legacy is a joint, concrete and ambitious plan to follow Nansen’s example in exploring the Arctic. To establish a holistic understanding of a changing Arctic Ocean and ecosystem, the project will provide the scientific knowledge base needed for future sustainable resource management in the Barents Sea and the adjacent Arctic Basin. An ice-free Arctic is gradually emerging. The winter sea ice retreat is date most pronounced in the Barents Sea, the Atlantic gateway to the Arctic. As sea ice retreats and technology and infrastructure improves, it is imperative to rise to the scientific and exploratory legacy of Fridtjof Nansen and move through the Barents Sea. The Norwegian Arctic research community, joint in the Nansen Legacy, will take on Nansen’s tasks with several approaches. First, through a number of multidisciplinary cruises, a ”ground truth” will be established for the physical environment and the ecosystem in the northern Barents Sea, and adjacent Arctic Basin. Secondly, there will be an assessment on the impact of human activities in this region, with an emphasis upon ocean acidification, pollution and the impacts of fisheries. Thirdly, using scientific models, a 2020-2100 outlook for the expected state of climate, sea ice, and will be provided. This includes development of multi-perspective scenarios for the northern Barents Sea by and in a 2050 perspective. Fourthly, in order to improve safety for people and commercial operations, improved weather forecasts will be developed. Fifthly, to ensure open data availability in accordance with national and international standards, the Nansen Legacy will improve, secure and operationalize national data archives. At last, most importantly, the core aspect will be the emphasis on recruitment and training of the generation of cross-disciplinary Arctic researchers, and on engaging and educating the public.


Project Details
NERSC Principal Investigator: 
Pierre Rampal
Coordinating Institute: 
University of Tromsø
Project Status: