Navigation Links
Tracking the breakup of Arctic summer sea ice
Date:7/16/2014

As sea ice begins to melt back toward its late September minimum, it is being watched as never before. Scientists have put sensors on and under ice in the Beaufort Sea for an unprecedented campaign to monitor the summer melt.

The international effort hopes to figure out the physics of the ice edge in order to better understand and predict open water in Arctic seas.

"This has never been done at this level, over such a large area and for such a long period of time," said principal investigator Craig Lee, an oceanographer at the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory. "We're really trying to resolve the physics over the course of an entire melt season."

The project is funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research. It includes scientists from the Naval Postgraduate School, the Naval Research Laboratory, Cambridge University, Yale University, Laboratoire d'Oceanographie de Villefranche, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the British Antarctic Survey, the Scottish Association for Marine Science and the Korean Polar Research Institute.

Over the next months, the campaign will look at whether the processes that drive sea ice melt will change with increasing open water to the south. For example, open water absorbs more solar radiation, which can lead to more ice melt. Open water also exposes the ocean to wind and waves, which could lead to more mixing that would bring warmer, deeper water up into contact with the ice.

Observations will show how much the open water allows surface waves to grow and break up the ice, or how winds blowing across open water or broken ice could churn up the water lower down. They also will study how deep the sun's heat penetrates, how weather and currents affect the ice, and what all this means for the growth of tiny plants and animals living in the ice.

"As there is more and more open water in the summer, the processes that control the evolution of the sea ice are changing," said Luc Rainville, an oceanographer at the UW Applied Physics Laboratory.

"Increased open water likely means more wind-driven mixing," Rainville said. "Similarly surface waves will be able to travel further in open water, gaining height and power. Once these waves meet the ice they contribute to breaking the ice edge."

The study's focus is the marginal ice zone, the region between the solid ice and the open water, which is just now beginning to form along the coast of northern Alaska and Canada. In March, when the ice was thick enough to land aircraft, researchers installed four groups of sensors on the ice in a line that stretched nearly 200 miles to the north. Each site includes instruments to measure the atmosphere, ice and ocean. The line is designed to continuously measure the moving target of the marginal ice zone, with southern instruments melting out and the northern ones taking their place. Ocean sensors that move up and down will measure conditions under the ice.

In late July, after the ice edge recedes to expose the first open water along Alaska's north coast, researchers will release four robotic gliders. These gliders, developed by the UW Applied Physics Laboratory, will navigate using GPS in open water and from acoustic beacons suspended from the ice when under ice. When a glider pops up to the surface, researchers can download the data and send new commands from shore for example, direct gliders to monitor the effects of a big incoming storm, or investigate a region that's melting quickly. Another instrument developed at the UW, the SWIFT float, will take precise measurements of surface waves.

Lee will join the Korean icebreaker in August to place a fifth set of instruments and to study how chemistry and temperature affect microscopic marine organisms living in the ice.

Meanwhile, a team from the University of Miami is taking high-resolution satellite pictures of the ice floes that researchers will combine with the other observations.

"This field program will provide unique insight into the processes driving the summer melt of Arctic ice," Lee said. "It's the automation and unprecedented collaboration that allows us to be out there for the entire season," he said. "You couldn't afford to be out there at this intensity, for this length of time, any other way."


'/>"/>

Contact: Hannah Hickey
hickeyh@uw.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. SDSC assists researchers in novel wildlife tracking project
2. Imaging scientists develop a better tool for tracking MS
3. Automated CT dose-tracking software effectively monitors dosage in a clinical setting
4. Tracking turtles through time, Dartmouth-led study may resolve evolutionary debate
5. Tracking sugar movement in plants
6. Tracking neighborhood eating habits to promote healthier diets
7. Tracking catalytic reactions in microreactors
8. Nitrogen-tracking tools for better crops and less pollution
9. Tracking Asian air pollution aids policymakers
10. 9 and 60 ways of particle tracking
11. Gold nanoparticles help to develop a new method for tracking viruses
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Tracking the breakup of Arctic summer sea ice
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 The ... Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, ... Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion ... and 2022. The base year considered for the study ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 The Controller General of Immigration from ... Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the ... Continue Reading ... ... Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based ... to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD ... 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. ... Cancer Research, London (ICR) and University ... SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma ... MUK nine . The University of Leeds ... partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has ... The bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to ... period. , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017 International research firm Parks Associates announced ... at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in ... residential home security market and how smart safety and security products impact ... Parks Associates: Smart Home ... "The residential security market has ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... DIEGO , Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech ... biological mechanism by which its ProCell stem cell ... critical limb ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that treatment ... amount of limbs saved as compared to standard ... the molecule HGF resulted in reduction of therapeutic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: