AON: Observing the Evolving Central Arctic Ocean with Ice-Tethered Profilers
This awards sustains sampling of the upper Arctic Ocean water properties through all seasons using Ice-Tethered Profiler (ITP) instruments. Studies conducted over the last decade indicate that the Arctic is both a sensitive indicator of climate change and an active driver of climate variability. As evidenced by the strikingly low summer sea ice extent estimates recorded since August 2007 and large anomalies in liquid fresh water content (manifested by upper-ocean salinity), significant changes in the Arctic appear to be underway now. It is critical that we continue to observe the Arctic during this time of rapid evolution to quantify the physical changes that are occurring, to better understand their causes, and to assess their impacts on the Arctic Ocean climate system. We will construct and deploy 6 ITP instrument systems annually throughout the Arctic Ocean to acquire, process and make the data from these instruments freely and immediately available to all interested parties to support science and operational activities via our project web site, the GTS and the Argo float program data assembly centers. Improvements to sensor design and added variables will be tested during deployments to increase the platform lifetime and expand the measurement suite on board the ITP. On-going partnerships with European and Japanese investigators employing the WHOI ITP and other similar instruments holds promise for continued broad spatial coverage of the Arctic. We will continue to use the ITP program to support outreach activities designed for both specialized and general audiences including giving briefings to teachers, science journalists, policy makers and operational groups, contributing to museum presentations, making school visits and continuing to evolve our project web site http://www.whoi.edu/itp .