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Author Topic: The Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes EXperiment  (Read 4268 times)

Jim Hunt

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The slightly strange capitalisation of the title reveals the seven letter acronym for this new sea ice research project - MIZOPEX. As the project's home page puts it:

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Recent years have seen extreme changes in the Arctic. Particularly striking are changes within the Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean, and especially in the seas north of the Alaskan coast. These areas have experienced record warming, reduced sea ice extent, and loss of ice in areas that had been ice‐covered throughout human memory. Even the oldest and thickest ice types have failed to survive through the summer melt period in areas such as the Beaufort Sea and Canada Basin, and fundamental changes in ocean conditions such as earlier phytoplankton blooms may be underway.

A basic question that is significant for the entire Earth system is whether these regions have passed a tipping point, such that they are now essentially acting as sub‐Arctic seas where ice disappears in summer, or instead whether the changes are transient, with the potential for the ice pack to recover. The answer may depend largely on conditions in areas known as marginal ice zones (MIZ); areas where the "ice‐albedo feedback" driven by solar warming is highest, ice melt is extensive, and where human and marine mammal activity is greatest.

MIZOPEX is one of three projects chosen by NASA to receive funding as part of their UAS Enabled Earth Science program to "expand the utility of Unpiloted Aerial Systems (UAS) for advancing NASA’s goals in Earth System Science". The principal investigator for the project is Dr. James Maslanik from the University of Colorado, Boulder. The long list of collaborators also includes scientists from many other institutions.

The first flight over the Beaufort Sea was due to take place last week:



However the project field log reveals that they've experienced a few teething troubles with their NASA SIERRA unmanned aircraft, and that flight has yet to take place.

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July 20th:  Further debugging of SIERRA has identified a likely aircraft component problem.  UAF continued their preparations at OP.  No trip was made to OP from Deadhorse today due to poor weather conditions.

Hopefully the data will start flowing real soon now! 
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

ghoti

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Re: The Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes EXperiment
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2013, 06:08:31 AM »
Looks like they've been flying, dropping micro-buoys and retrieving data when flying over the buoys. I wasn't about to find any of this data on their site though.

OldLeatherneck

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Re: The Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes EXperiment
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2013, 03:18:30 PM »
This is a far better use of UAVs than those that are used to go around blowing people up.  More of these vehicles should be converted for use as airborne platforms for scientific observation and studies.
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ghoti

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Re: The Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes EXperiment
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2013, 04:20:20 PM »
These types of UAVs are meant for surveillance / remote sensing. It is interesting to note that the FAA which has been afraid to license UAVs for civilian use has just begun to permit them in limited ways - specifically only allowing them permission to fly over the Arctic.

Jim Hunt

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Re: The Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes EXperiment
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2013, 04:32:27 PM »
I wasn't about to find any of this data on their site though.

Me neither. I was hoping it might appear in public on the page entitled "Data", but that seems merely to be background info acquired via other means.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

OldLeatherneck

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Re: The Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes EXperiment
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2013, 06:16:22 PM »
Has anyone considered using UAVs with the appropriate sensors and photographic equipment to fly below the clouds over pre-determined areas for the express intent of validating the satellite data.  There has been a lot of discussion this year regarding how accurate the satellite measurement are when looking through the clouds.  I think UAVs could be an excellent resource to  help further improve all measurement capabilities over the Artic.
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Tor Bejnar

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Re: The Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes EXperiment
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2013, 07:22:22 PM »
See 'Reply #14 on July 17, 2013' in the 'Healy' thread: http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,436.0.html for mention of a UAV on shipboard.  "Emergency response exercises", however, doesn't sound like they are going to use this bird to improve scientific measurements.
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ghoti

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Re: The Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes EXperiment
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2013, 08:32:55 PM »
Most of what I've seen in aviation posts is interest/plans from the oil sector who are interested in UAVs to monitor sea ice conditions to protect their drilling assets.

NASA has three large UAVs outfitted to do scientific observation but I haven't seen any recent work done with them. They have used them to observe forest fires and have flown one from California to the Arctic and back once. The large ones can stay in the air over 30 hours.

OldLeatherneck

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Re: The Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes EXperiment
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2013, 10:43:56 PM »
Most of what I've seen in aviation posts is interest/plans from the oil sector who are interested in UAVs to monitor sea ice conditions to protect their drilling assets.


What could be more important than protecting drilling assets..........certainly not the quest for scientific knowledge!!
"Share Your Knowledge.  It's a Way to Achieve Immortality."  ......the Dalai Lama