|COMMUNITY WHITE PAPER||10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.54|
Autonomous Platforms in the Arctic Observing Network
Craig M. Lee(1), Humfrey Melling(2), Hajo Eicken(3), Peter Schlosser(4), Jean-Claude Gascard(5), Andrey Proshutinsky(6), Eberhard Fahrbach(7), Cecilie Mauritzen(8), James Morison(9), Igor Polykov(10)
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Autonomous platforms (e.g. floats, ice-based observatories, (IBOs) and gliders) can contribute scalable, flexible elements to the Arctic Observing Network (AON), providing access to remote, ice-covered regions and enabling persistent, sustained sampling and broad spatial coverage of the deep basins, marginal ice zone, shallow boundaries and gateways. Floats, gliders and IBOs excel at providing year-round measurements over extended (years) time periods, while their relatively modest per-platform operating costs permit deployment in quantities that are large enough to provide unprecedented spatial coverage. These platforms can be efficiently operated in large numbers and employ operating modes and logistics that can readily respond to evolving observational priorities. Autonomous instruments can be used in tandem with conventional approaches to create a sustainable AON that retains the ability to adapt to rapidly evolving environmental conditions and advances in understanding that drive shifts in observational priorities. The flexibility provided by autonomous approaches will also help the AON balance between the long-term needs of climate studies and the short-term demands of providing relevant data products to Arctic stakeholders. Recent IPY (International Polar Year) successes with autonomous technologies, such as the International Arctic Buoy Program's Pan-Arctic array, the IBO array and under-ice navigation and operation of autonomous gliders at regional scales, place the community in a position to contemplate wider adoption, though significant hurdles remain. Challenges include development of a basin-scale acoustic navigation and communications network, development of miniaturized, energy-efficient biogeochemical sensors suitable for long-term autonomous deployment and international coordination, both for support and for broad access that spans the EEZs (Exclusive Economic Zones) of the Arctic nations. The AON should exploit autonomous technologies and foster their development for Arctic applications, with an eye toward using these systems as key building blocks for the construction of a sustainable, long-term observing system.
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This paper shall be cited as:
Lee, C. & Co-Authors (2010). "Autonomous Platforms in the Arctic Observing Network" in Proceedings of OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 2), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, Hall, J., Harrison, D.E. & Stammer, D., Eds., ESA Publication WPP-306, doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.54
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