Arctic System Science/OAII/Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean

Project Description
Science Summary:

This research project is a key component of a large, coordinated, multi-investigator program, Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) . The research program was conducted for 13 months from a ship frozen into the ice pack. This investigator used the Twin Otter logistics aircraft to conduct surveys of the surface temperature in the vicinity of the ship in order to determine the thin-ice thickness distribution. This research will be important for the determination of the effects of the flux of incoming heat radiating onto the ice floe as a function of changing atmospheric and oceanic conditions. Ice surface temperature was measured with a narrow-beam radiometer and a video tape record of the surface was recorded during daylight flights. The surveys covered an area within 50 km of the ship. The sea ice temperature measurement program makes an essential contribution to the SHEBA team of researchers who will measure atmospheric variables with a large array of instruments on the ice floe and aircraft flying above as well as ice and ocean property measurements made on and below the ice floe. The combined set of measurements in SHEBA will allow refinement of climate models for the Arctic region. Those improved models will lead to better predictions of the climate and the permanence of the Arctic ice cap under a proposed global warming that could occur if atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are increased above present levels.

Logistics Summary:

For the Surface Heat Budget of the Oceans (SHEBA) Project, the Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker Des Groseilliers was frozen into the Beaufort Sea pack ice 300 km north of Prudhoe Bay and left to drift from October 1997 to October 1998. The ship was used as a base of operations and floating scientific research station. During its year in the ice it followed a meandering path and ended up 400 miles north of its point of origin. During the SHEBA campaign, researchers conducted measurements in an approximately 100 square km area around the SHEBA site. Logistics were provided by ONR and U. Washington. This project utilized the Twin Otter logistics support aircraft to conduct surveys of the surface temperature from October 1997 through May 1998 . Nine survey flights were completed on six different campaigns.

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