Gaining new perspectives of air-ocean-ice coupling in the Canadian Arctic using a Remotely Operated Vehicle and aerial drone

Michael Digilio1, Krystian Kopka1, Maria Tzortziou2, Mirella Shaban3, Donglai Gong4, Nicole Trenholm5, Brice Loose6, Gail Scowcroft6 and Holly Morin7, (1)City College of New York, United States, (2)City College of New York, New York, NY, United States, (3)University of Virginia, Department of Environmental Sciences, Charlottesville, United States, (4)Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA, United States, (5)University of Maryland Baltimore County, Annapolis, MD, United States, (6)University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, RI, United States, (7)University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography, Narragansett, RI, United States
Although sea ice is a unique feature of the polar oceans, it plays a critical role in influencing the global climate. This is especially true in the Arctic, where sea ice also influences the transport and mixing of oceanic water masses and provides a complex habitat for marine species above and below the ice. Although under-ice habitats are difficult to measure, specialized technologies, such as remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), can be used to make in-situobservations of the under-ice environments. Testing remotely operated technologies as a tool for Arctic investigations was one aspect of the undergraduate research experiences during the Northwest Passage Project (NPP). The NPP, funded by the National Science Foundation and Heising-Simons Foundation, is a collaborative project between the University of Rhode Island, Swedish Polar Research Secretariat, film company David Clark Inc., five minority serving institutions, and other international research partners. Motivated by the overarching goal of understanding how Arctic waters have changed because of recent warming, teams of undergraduate students and scientists engaged in an interdisciplinary, ocean-based research program, deploying a variety of oceanographic instruments during the Swedish Icebreaker Oden’stransit through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The physical oceanography (PO) team not only deployed hydrographic instruments, such as CTDs and current velocity instruments (ADCP), to investigate the interaction between Arctic and Atlantic waters, but it also used a ROV to explore the under-ice environments. The team also deployed unmanned aerial vehicles to collect ocean surface data, as well as photos and videos of the surrounding Arctic environment. This presentation will focus on the research efforts of the NPP PO research team and their experiences working with a variety of marine instruments to observe the Arctic environment.