An Autonomous Approach to Observing the Seasonal Ice Zone in the Western Arctic

Craig Lee, Jim Thomson, Kyoung Ho Cho, Sylvia Cole, Martin Doble, Lee Freitag, Hans Graber, Byongjun Hwang, Steve Jayne, Sung Ho Kang, Joo Hong Kim, Rick Krishfield, Craig Lee, Ted Maksym, Wieslaw Maslowski, Breckner Owens, Mary Jane Perry, Pam Posey, Luc Rainville, Jackie Richter-MengeAndrew Roberts, Axel Schweiger, William Shaw, Timothy Stanton, Michael Steele, Mary Louise Timmermans, John Toole, Peter Wadhams, Jeremy Wilkinson, Eun Jin Yang, Jinlun Zhang, Stephen Ackley, Fabrice Ardhuin, Fanny Girard Ardhuin, Alexander Babanin, Tripp Collins, Christopher Fairall, Johannes Gemmrich, Peter Guest, Benjamin Holt, Susanne Lehner, Michael Meylan, Fabien Montiel, William Perrie, Ola Persson, Erick Rogers, Hayley Shen, Hui Shen, Vernon Squire, Sharon Stammerjohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The Marginal Ice Zone and Arctic Sea State programs examined the processes that govern evolution of the rapidly changing seasonal ice zone in the Beaufort Sea. Autonomous platforms operating from the ice and within the water column collected measurements across the atmosphere-ice-ocean system and provided the persistence to sample continuously through the springtime retreat and autumn advance of sea ice. Autonomous platforms also allowed operational modalities that reduced the field programs’ logistical requirements. Observations indicate that thermodynamics, especially the radiative balances of the ice-albedo feedback, govern the seasonal cycle of sea ice, with the role of surface waves confined to specific events. Continuous sampling from winter into autumn also reveals the imprint of winter ice conditions and fracturing on summertime floe size distribution. These programs demonstrate effective use of integrated systems of autonomous platforms for persistent, multiscale Arctic observing. Networks of autonomous systems are well suited to capturing the vast scales of variability inherent in the Arctic system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-68
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


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