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  1. Investigations of Spatial and Temporal Variability of Oceanand Ice Conditions In and Near the Marginal Ice Zone: The "Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes EXperiment" (MIZOPEX) • Goals: • Assess ocean and sea ice variability during the melt season within a key Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ) region. • - Amount and distribution of heat in the ocean mixed layer • - Relationships between atmospheric conditions and solar heating • - Sea ice characteristics and relationships to melt rates and change • - Satellite product validation (SST, ice concentration) • Demonstrate potential for geophysical research using multiple unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in polar regions. • Determine best practices for collaborating with FAA regarding flight requirements and limitations. NASA supported, with contributions from NOAA.

  2. Press Release September 19th, 2012

  3. Sea Ice Extent September, 2012 (NSIDC) 23Sep12 16Sep12

  4. Thoughts from MIZOPEX • Has the Arctic have passed a tipping point and now will it appear as sub-Arctic seas where ice disappears in summer? Or are the changes are transient, with potential for the ice pack to recover? • Do some of the often-cited open water areas contain residual sparsely distributed ice floes, which could pose a hazard to marine operations in the Arctic; particularly if made up of thick, strong old-ice floes?

  5. Thoughts from MIZOPEX • Basic parameters such as sea surface temperature (SST), sea surface salinity (SSS), and ice characteristics such as thickness, albedo and topography are still insufficiently understood during summer melt. • Limited knowledge about how ice and ocean evolve over hours to weeks • Vertical variability in the ocean column • Spatial variability in and near the ice pack • Three most important topics for improving satellite SST products were (a) characterizing spatial variability, (b) quantifying diurnal warming, and (c) documenting the differences between skin and subsurface temperatures.

  6. MIZOPEX will: • Quantify the spatial variability of SST, SSS and ice conditions in and near the MIZ • Determine the accuracy of satellite-derived SST and ice concentration products in the MIZ region • Investigate how well skin SST measurements represent subsurface and bulk ocean temperatures under different atmospheric and ice conditions • Determine how these relationships change over time and space • Identify variations in ice thickness and surface characteristics and investigate what types of ice is surviving summer melt.

  7. Approach: Coordinated operations of UAS with different capabilities and characteristics (NASA Ikhana, UAF ScanEagle, and CU microUAV), with air-deployed sensors, in-situ buoy measurements, and satellite observations. Challenges: operations in a cloudy, hostile environment, sensor integration, air-space issues, multi-aircraft coordination, in-situ sensor revisiting and data upload. SDSS: Self-Deploying Surface Sensors ADMB: Air-Deployed Microbuoys

  8. Summer of 2013* (18Jul-18Aug) UAS: UAF ScanEagles CU MAV's NASA Ikhana Two operational locations: Oliktok Fairbanks • Three main mission types: • spatial mapping (typically coordinated with selected satellite overpasses and termed Type 1 missions), long transects • sustained observations carried out as fixed-location (Eulerian) or moving-location (Lagrangian) sampling (Type 2 missions), multi-temporal • local testing missions such as ADMB and SDSS coordination experiments and airframe ice build-up experiments (Type 3 missions). * Note: Engineering Risk Reduction Missions for summer 2012 were not flown; difficulties in obtaining FAA COA was one factor.

  9. Operational Area 310 nm 140 nm 350 nm • Transit to/from Eielson at 18k • Some Ikhana mission flights to be 18-20k feet • Some mission flights to be at 2000 feet • IAS ~120kts • ADS-B • Iridium when in Operational Area

  10. July Sea Ice Extent 15Jul2011 15Jul2010 Oliktok Point Oliktok Point

  11. August Sea Ice Extent 14Aug2011 14Aug2010 Oliktok Point Oliktok Point

  12. Example mission profiles for Ikhana, Based at Fairbanks, AK 20 hrs. Requires two crews Assumes 9 to 10 hrs. flying time.

  13. Overview of the SDSS Vehicle

  14. Overview of the ScanEagle Vehicle

  15. Overview of the Ikhana Vehicle

  16. Limited Summary of Recent Draft FAA Proposals • small UAS (sUAS) defined as less than 25 kg / 55 pounds • Below 2000' • Expanding UAS into the Arctic Areas provides many benefits for: • Scientific research • Search and Rescue (SAR) • Environmental analysis • Fisheries • Marine mammal observers • Oil and gas leaseholders • Maritime route planners

  17. Proposed Southern (l) and Northern (r) sUAS Operational Areas

  18. Draft White Paper for AMAP: "Implementing Scientific Data Collection across the Arctic Oceanic Flight Information Regions using Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)" • small UAS (sUAS) defined as less than 25 kg / 55 pounds • Timeline: • 9 Specific recommendations. • Informal CAA review in October. • Submission to AMAP in November for Formal comments.