Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: Novel Methods to Observe Heat and Ice in the High Latitudes Using PIES (Award# 1332911)

PI: Andres, Magdalena (
Phone: (508) 289.2660 
Institute/Department: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Physical Oceanography 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ANS
Program Manager: Dr. William Wiseman (
Discipline(s): | Oceanography |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
This project will develop and test a non-traditional method to measure the time-varying heat content and vertical temperature profile in high-latitude seas, shelves, and fjords using pressure-sensor-equipped inverted echo sounders (PIES). PIES, which are installed on the seafloor below the reach of destructive iceberg keels, present a promising and inexpensive way to improve understanding of fjord dynamics and shelf-fjord interactions and will increase long-term monitoring capabilities in high latitudes where remoteness and harsh conditions hamper traditional in situ observation techniques. The use of PIES to characterize variability at high latitudes is a novel repurposing of an existing technology, but rests on the same principle as the traditional blue-water uses for PIES: due to the dependence of sound speed on temperature, the surface-to-bottom round-trip acoustic-travel-time associated with reflections between the PIES and the air-sea interface is an excellent proxy for heat content in the intervening water column. Furthermore, since reflections from seawater-ice interfaces are also detected when ice is present, PIES also provide a means to characterize the ice component in high-latitude systems. The PIs would develop these methods with existing PIES data collected in a 1-year test deployment in Sermilik Fjord in eastern Greenland and with observations to be collected in a 2-year deployment of three PIES in the fjord and on the nearby shelf.

Logistics Summary:
This project will develop and test a method to measure the time-varying heat content of high-latitude seas, shelves, and fjords using pressure-sensor-equipped inverted echo sounders (PIES). Concurrently, PIES measurements will be exploited to (1) detect icebergs and periods of landfast ice cover, (2) determine ice draft, and (3) measure iceberg speed. Working with an existing cruise to recover moorings led by F. Straneo (NSF Grant 0909274), three PIES will be deployed in Sermilik Fjord and on the nearby shelf for a 2-year experiment beginning in August 2013. In 2013 a field team of 2 will travel to Tasiilaq, Greenland for the deployment of 3 PIES from a small vessel. In 2015 a field team of 3 will return to to Tasiilaq, Greenland for PIES recovery.

All logistics will be organized by the researchers and paid through the grant.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2013Greenland - Tasiilaq08 / 05 / 2013 08 / 12 / 20132
2015Greenland - Tasiilaq08 / 05 / 2015 08 / 12 / 20153

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