Christian Stranne

Christian Stranne

Assistant Professor

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Works at Department of Geological Sciences
Telephone 08-674 78 35
Visiting address Svante Arrheniusväg 8 C, Geohuset
Room R 215
Postal address Institutionen för geologiska vetenskaper 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Christian Stranne received his PhD (Nov 2012) in Physical Oceanography from the University of Gothenburg, where he studied large-scale Arctic sea ice dynamics and coupled ocean-sea ice-atmosphere interactions. He has held a two-year postdoc position at the Department of Geological Sciences (IGV), Stockholm University, focusing on methane hydrate dynamics and numerical modelling of multiphase flow in hydrate-bearing marine sediments. Christian became a Swedish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in 2015 (three years) during which he shared his time between IGV and the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire, USA. He has since expanded his research to include geophysical mapping with acoustic methods, and in 2017 he received a four-year grant from the Swedish Research Council (co-applicant), for a project on acoustic detection of internal waves in the ocean. Christian became an Assistant Professor in August 2018 and in November the same year he received a four-year grant from the Swedish Research Council for a project on large-scale climate warming-induced seafloor release of methane gas. 

Christian’s field work experience includes five major icebreaker expeditions to Antarctica and the Arctic Ocean, as well as several cruises with smaller vessels in Sweden and in Chile. His field work expertise lies within acoustic mapping, CTD and LADCP operations, and mooring deployments/recoveries.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2018. Christian Stranne (et al.). Ocean Science 14 (3), 503-514

    The ocean surface mixed layer is a nearly universal feature of the world oceans. Variations in the depth of the mixed layer (MLD) influences the exchange of heat, fresh water (through evaporation), and gases between the atmosphere and the ocean and constitutes one of the major factors controlling ocean primary production as it affects the vertical distribution of biological and chemical components in near-surface waters. Direct observations of the MLD are traditionally made by means of conductivity, temperature, and depth (CTD) casts. However, CTD instrument deployment limits the observation of temporal and spatial variability in the MLD. Here, we present an alternative method in which acoustic mapping of the MLD is done remotely by means of commercially available ship-mounted echo sounders. The method is shown to be highly accurate when the MLD is well defined and biological scattering does not dominate the acoustic returns. These prerequisites are often met in the open ocean and it is shown that the method is successful in 95% of data collected in the central Arctic Ocean. The primary advantages of acoustically mapping the MLD over CTD measurements are (1) considerably higher temporal and horizontal resolutions and (2) potentially larger spatial coverage.

  • 2018. Martin Jakobsson (et al.). Nature Communications 9

    Submarine glacial landforms in fjords are imprints of the dynamic behaviour of marine-terminating glaciers and are informative about their most recent retreat phase. Here we use detailed multibeam bathymetry to map glacial landforms in Petermann Fjord and Nares Strait, northwestern Greenland. A large grounding-zone wedge (GZW) demonstrates that Petermann Glacier stabilised at the fjord mouth for a considerable time, likely buttressed by an ice shelf. This stability was followed by successive backstepping of the ice margin down the GZW's retrograde backslope forming small retreat ridges to 680 m current depth (similar to 730-800 m palaeodepth). Iceberg ploughmarks occurring somewhat deeper show that thick, grounded ice persisted to these water depths before final breakup occurred. The palaeodepth limit of the recessional moraines is consistent with final collapse driven by marine ice cliff instability (MICI) with retreat to the next stable position located underneath the present Petermann ice tongue, where the seafloor is unmapped.

  • 2017. Christian Stranne (et al.). Scientific Reports 7

    Although there is enough heat contained in inflowing warm Atlantic Ocean water to melt all Arctic sea ice within a few years, a cold halocline limits upward heat transport from the Atlantic water. The amount of heat that penetrates the halocline to reach the sea ice is not well known, but vertical heat transport through the halocline layer can significantly increase in the presence of double diffusive convection. Such convection can occur when salinity and temperature gradients share the same sign, often resulting in the formation of thermohaline staircases. Staircase structures in the Arctic Ocean have been previously identified and the associated double diffusive convection has been suggested to influence the Arctic Ocean in general and the fate of the Arctic sea ice cover in particular. A central challenge to understanding the role of double diffusive convection in vertical heat transport is one of observation. Here, we use broadband echo sounders to characterize Arctic thermohaline staircases at their full vertical and horizontal resolution over large spatial areas (100 s of kms). In doing so, we offer new insight into the mechanism of thermohaline staircase evolution and scale, and hence fluxes, with implications for understanding ocean mixing processes and ocean-sea ice interactions.

  • 2017. Christian Stranne, Matthew O'Regan, Martin Jakobsson. Geophysical Research Letters 44 (16), 8510-8519

    The stability of marine methane hydrates and the potential release of methane gas to the ocean and atmosphere have received considerable attention in the past decade. Sophisticated hydraulic-thermodynamic models are increasingly being applied to investigate the dynamics of bottom water warming, hydrate dissociation, and gas escape from the seafloor. However, these models often lack geomechanical coupling and neglect how overpressure development and fracture propagation affect the timing, rate, and magnitude of methane escape. In this study we integrate a geomechanical coupling into the widely used TOUGH+Hydrate model. It is shown that such coupling is crucial in sediments with permeability 10(-16)m(2), as fracture formation dramatically affects rates of dissociation and seafloor gas release. The geomechanical coupling also results in highly nonlinear seafloor gas release, which presents an additional mechanism for explaining the widely observed episodic nature of gas flares from seafloor sediments in a variety of tectonic and oceanographic settings.

  • 2016. Christian Stranne, Matt O`Regan. Geo-Marine Letters 36 (1), 25-33

    A basic premise in marine heat flow studies is that the temperature gradient varies with depth as a function of the bulk thermal conductivity of the sediments. As sediments become more deeply buried, compaction reduces the porosity and causes an increase in the bulk thermal conductivity. Therefore, while the heat flow may remain constant with depth, the thermal gradient is not necessarily linear. However, it has been argued that measurements showing increased sediment thermal conductivity with burial depth may be caused by a horizontal measurement bias generated by increasing anisotropy in sediments during consolidation. This study reanalyses a synthesis of Ocean Drilling Program data from 186 boreholes, and investigates the occurrence of nonlinear geothermal gradients in marine sediments. The aim is to identify whether observed downhole changes in thermal conductivity influence the measured temperature gradient, and to investigate potential errors in the prediction of in-situ temperatures derived from the extrapolation of near-surface thermal gradients. The results indicate that the measured thermal conductivity does influence the geothermal gradient. Furthermore, comparisons between shallow measurements (<10 m) from surface heat flow surveys and the deeply constrained temperature data from 98 ODP boreholes indicate that the shallow gradients are consistently higher by on average 19 °C km–1. This is consistent with higher porosity and generally lower thermal conductivity in near-seafloor sediments, and highlights the need to develop robust porosity–thermal conductivity models to accurately predict temperatures at depth from shallow heat flow surveys.

  • 2016. Christian Stranne (et al.). Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems 17 (3), 872-886

    Sediments deposited along continental margins of the Arctic Ocean presumably host large amounts of methane (CH4) in gas hydrates. Here we apply numerical simulations to assess the potential of gas hydrate dissociation and methane release from the East Siberian slope over the next 100 years. Simulations are based on a hypothesized bottom water warming of 3 degrees C, and an assumed starting distribution of gas hydrate. The simulation results show that gas hydrate dissociation in these sediments is relatively slow, and that CH4 fluxes toward the seafloor are limited by low sediment permeability. The latter is true even when sediment fractures are permitted to form in response to overpressure in pore space. With an initial gas hydrate distribution dictated by present-day pressure and temperature conditions, nominally 0.35 Gt of CH4 are released from the East Siberian slope during the first 100 years of the simulation. However, this CH4 discharge becomes significantly smaller (approximate to 0.05 Gt) if glacial sea level changes in the Arctic Ocean are considered. This is because a lower sea level during the last glacial maximum (LGM) must result in depleted gas hydrate abundance within the most sensitive region of the modern gas hydrate stability zone. Even if all released CH4 reached the atmosphere, the amount coming from East Siberian slopes would be trivial compared to present-day atmospheric CH4 inputs from other sources.

  • 2016. Christian Stranne, Matthew O'Regan, Martin Jakobsson. Geophysical Research Letters 43 (16), 8703-8712

    Continental margins host large quantities of methane stored partly as hydrates in sediments. Release of methane through hydrate dissociation is implicated as a possible feedback mechanism to climate change. Large-scale estimates of future warming-induced methane release are commonly based on a hydrate stability approach that omits dynamic processes. Here we use the multiphase flow model TOUGH+hydrate (T+H) to quantitatively investigate how dynamic processes affect dissociation rates and methane release. The simulations involve shallow, 20-100m thick hydrate deposits, forced by a bottom water temperature increase of 0.03 degrees Cyr(-1) over 100years. We show that on a centennial time scale, the hydrate stability approach can overestimate gas escape quantities by orders of magnitude. Our results indicate a time lag of>40years between the onset of warming and gas escape, meaning that recent climate warming may soon be manifested as widespread gas seepages along the world's continental margins.

  • 2016. Martin Jakobsson (et al.). Nature Communications 7

    The hypothesis of a km-thick ice shelf covering the entire Arctic Ocean during peak glacial conditions was proposed nearly half a century ago. Floating ice shelves preserve few direct traces after their disappearance, making reconstructions difficult. Seafloor imprints of ice shelves should, however, exist where ice grounded along their flow paths. Here we present new evidence of ice-shelf groundings on bathymetric highs in the central Arctic Ocean, resurrecting the concept of an ice shelf extending over the entire central Arctic Ocean during at least one previous ice age. New and previously mapped glacial landforms together reveal flow of a spatially coherent, in some regions41-km thick, central Arctic Ocean ice shelf dated to marine isotope stage 6 (similar to 140 ka). Bathymetric highs were likely critical in the ice-shelf development by acting as pinning points where stabilizing ice rises formed, thereby providing sufficient back stress to allow ice shelf thickening.

Show all publications by Christian Stranne at Stockholm University


Last updated: October 4, 2019

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