2012-2013 Science Planning Summaries
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Collaborative Research: Ocean-ice-atmosphere interactions in the Terra Nova Bay polynya
The project's instrumented unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) just launched from a specially-fitted USAP truck. Photo courtesy of John Cassano. 

Program Manager:
Dr. Peter Milne


ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Beverly Walker

Dr. John Cassano (Principal Investigator)

University of Colorado Boulder
Louisville, Colorado

Supporting Stations:  McMurdo Station
Research Locations:  Pegasus Field / Williams Fields / Sea ice

Project Description:
Antarctic coastal polynas are, at the same time, ice-free and sea ice factories. They are pools of open water often surrounded by miles of sea ice. Scientists’ ability to model the formation and persistence of these productive and diverse ocean ecosystems is hampered by the relative lack of in situ meteorological and physical oceanographic observations, especially during the inhospitable conditions of their formation and activity during the polar night. A key technological innovation that will enable progress in understanding polynyas is the use of instrumented Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). Project researchers will fly UAVs from McMurdo Station to Terra Nova Bay to make in situ measurements of the atmospheric boundary layer.

Field Season Overview:
Six participants will deploy to McMurdo Station at WINFLY. Making day-trips to the local airfields and sea-ice locations, they will launch Small Unmanned Meteorological Observer (SUMO) UAVs. During flights, researchers will monitor vehicle status, location and receive data telemetry.

Deploying Team Members:

  • John Cassano (PI)
  • Cameron Hall
  • Paul Herrmann
  • Peter Kernebone
  • Shelley Knuth (Co-PI)
  • Nickolas Logan

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Curator: Esther L. Hill PhD, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Office of Polar Programs