Results of the First Arctic Heat Open Science Experiment Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Seasonally ice-covered marginal seas are among the most difficult regions in the Arctic to study. Physical constraints imposed by the variable presence of sea ice in all stages of growth and melt make the upper water column and air–sea ice interface especially challenging to observe. At the same time, the flow of solar energy through Alaska’s marginal seas is one of the most important regulators of their weather and climate, sea ice cover, and ecosystems. The deficiency of observing systems in these areas hampers forecast services in the region and is a major contributor to large uncertainties in modeling and related climate projections. The Arctic Heat Open Science Experiment strives to fill this observation gap with an array of innovative autonomous floats and other near-real-time weather and ocean sensing systems. These capabilities allow continuous monitoring of the seasonally evolving state of the Chukchi Sea, including its heat content. Data collected by this project are distributed in near–real time on project websites and on the Global Telecommunications System (GTS), with the objectives of (i) providing timely delivery of observations for use in weather and sea ice forecasts, for model, and for reanalysis applications and (ii) supporting ongoing research activities across disciplines. This research supports improved forecast services that protect and enhance the safety and economic viability of maritime and coastal community activities in Alaska. Data are free and open to all (see www.pmel.noaa.gov/arctic-heat/).

publication date

  • March 2018