Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory
Autonomous Ice Mass Balance Buoys for an Arctic Observing Network
This award supports the deployment of ice mass balance (IMB) buoys as part of the Arctic Observing Network (AON) and the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH). The autonomous, ice-based drifting buoys measure, delineate and, importantly, attribute thermodynamically-driven changes in the thickness of the ice cover. The IMBs will be deployed strategically and in coordination with other elements of AON to optimize the observation of changes and trends in sea ice throughout the Arctic Basin.
IMB data have and will continue to assist large-scale modeling efforts to improve the treatment of ice growth and decay in GCMs and to assess the relative impact of ice thermodynamics on the observed changes in the Arctic sea ice cover. Results will also provide baseline data to support the development of instruments and algorithms to remotely sense snow depth, ice thickness, and the onset of freeze-up. More generally, this work presents an extraordinary opportunity to capture the attention and imagination of the public and of schoolchildren. The centerpiece of active commitment to educational outreach will be the design and implementation of the "Adopt-a-Buoy" program, where K-12 students will have the opportunity to name and follow a designated buoy after it is deployed in the Arctic. Our participation in a recently funded Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program (IGERT), "Polar Environmental Change" with Dartmouth College, will facilitate the involvement of graduate students.
The particular goal for this project is to determine, delineate, and attribute the thermodynamic changes in the mass balance of the Arctic sea ice cover by developing an integrated atmosphere-ice-ocean observing array that provides a comprehensive description of the response of the ice cover to atmospheric and oceanic forcing. Specifically, researchers will install ice mass balance buoys, as part of AON, to examine pan-Arctic changes in the thermodynamic component of the sea ice mass balance and create an observational database that can be widely used to observe, understand, and respond to Arctic environmental change through the coordinated installation of ice mass balance (IMB) buoys.
With the help of the North Pole Environmental Observatory and the WHOI Ice-Tethered Profiler (ITP) program this project will deploy a total of 24 IMBs over a 5-year period: 5 IMBs per year in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 and 4 IMBs in 2014.
This grant covers the purchase of the ice mass balance ...
Data and Resources
Start Date: 2009/01/01