MIZOPEX – A UAS Arctic Campaign During Summer 2013

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 5:30 PM
Mark A Tschudi1, James A Maslanik1, William J Emery2, Scott E Palo3, Alice C Bradley4, Doug Weibel3, Christopher J Zappa5, Scott Brown6, Dale Lawrence3, Matthew M Fladeland7, Leonard Ligon8, Peter Elstner8, Randall Berthold9 and John Adler10, (1)University of Colorado at Boulder, CCAR, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)Univ Colorado-CCAR, Boulder, CO, United States, (3)University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States, (4)Univ of Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States, (5)Lamont -Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY, United States, (6)Lamont-Doherty Earth Observat, Palisades, NY, United States, (7)NASA Ames Research Ctr, Moffett Field, CA, United States, (8)University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, United States, (9)NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States, (10)NEON, Boulder, CO, United States
Despite the significance of the marginal ice zones of the Arctic Ocean, basic parameters such as sea surface temperature (SST) and a range of sea ice characteristics are still insufficiently understood in these areas, and especially so during the summer melt period. The Marginal Ice Zone Ocean and Ice Observations and Processes Experiment (MIZOPEX) was conceived to address directly these information gaps through a targeted, intensive observing campaign that would take advantage of the capabilities of multiple classes of UAS combined with in-situ sensing and satellite observations.

The MIZOPEX campaign took place during July-August 2013. A total of 24 UAS flights were performed prior to the last field day on 9 August; 2 NASA SIERRA flights, 16 University of Alaska-Fairbanks ScanEagle flights, and 4 CU-Boulder DataHawk flights, for a total of 54 flight hours. Flight operations for all three UAS were based from the active USAF DEW Line station and runway at Oliktok Point, AK.

As the ice cover evolved over the July-August period, two separate regions of focus were identified for the UAS flights - a southern region that was within the flying range of the non-Iridium-equipped ScanEagles, and a more northern area where ice concentration was greater. Mapping-type missions were carried out over these locations on multiple days, along with Air-Deployed Micro-Buoy (ADMB) deployment and data uploading.