UAS used to Assess Decline Of Arctic Sea Ice in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea

CU-Boulder Research Professor James Maslanik, left, CU-Boulder graduate student Ian Crocker, centre, and NOAA researcher John Adler, right – Photo : University of Colorado

A national research team led by the University of Colorado Boulder is embarking on a two-year, multi-pronged effort to better understand the impacts of environmental factors associated with the continuing decline of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.

The team will use tools ranging from unmanned aircraft and satellites to ocean buoys in order to understand the characteristics and changes in Arctic sea ice, which was at 1.67 million square miles during September 2011, more than 1 million square miles below the 1979-2000 monthly average sea ice extent for September — an area larger than Texas and California combined. Critical ocean regions north of the Alaskan coast, like the Beaufort Sea and the Canada Basin, have experienced record warming and decreased sea ice extent unprecedented in human memory, said CU-Boulder Research Professor James Maslanik, who is leading the research effort.

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