Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: INSPIRE Track 1: Acoustic Sensor Networks for Ice-Covered Seas (Award# 1344264)

PI: Muenchow, Andreas (
Phone: (302) 831.0742 
Institute/Department: U of Delaware, College of Marine and Earth Studies 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ANS
Program Manager: Dr. Cynthia Suchman (
Discipline(s): | Oceanography |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
This project aims to accomplish three objectives: 1) collect acoustic measurements for scattering and propagation studies, 2) test physical-layer receiver performance (data rates, biterror- rate, ranges), and 3) demonstrate the feasibility of the sensor network in the Arctic Ocean over a multi-month period (March to August, 2016). The researchers will design and develop an integrated underwater acoustic sensor network for ice-covered seas. They will expand the limits and capabilities of underwater communication networks in the transition zone where sea ice changes from 1) smooth land-fast ice to 2) ridged mobile ice to 3) open water. This transition zone evolves in both time and space within the 30-50 km foot-print of the planned networked sensor and communication network array. This goal requires integration of both existing knowledge from a set of diverse disciplines and intellectual innovations within each discipline. It will modify underwater communication network theory, coastal acoustic propagation and scattering, and experimental design of oceanography. Providing long-term, long-range acoustic connectivity, the research team will address three major new research challenges: 1) Mid-frequency (1-5 kHz), mid-range (10 km) acoustic wave propagation in the transition zone; 2) Data telemetry in the new communication environment; and 3) Resilient sensor networks that cope with and harness complex dynamics of the transition zone. The multi-disciplinary team would implement reliable modem hardware, integrate it with resilient network protocol, and optimize the system design for Arctic deployment to support an ocean experiment off Thule, Greenland. The sensor and communication network will support 1) long-term, intelligent distributed Arctic observing systems, 2) assimilation of remote-sensing and in-situ under-ice measurements, and 3) regional and global climate modeling with real-time measurements. Such a network holds the promise to revolutionize under-ice ocean sampling in polar regions. Data would be broadly disseminated via the web and archived for public access. Planned outreach includes participation in the field program of Greenlandic residents from the Inupiat village of Qaanaaq and meaningful classroom involvement from the elementary to community college levels. The researchers are also committed to outreach through their global print, radio, TV, and electronic media contacts.

Logistics Summary:
This INSPIRE award is partially funded by the Arctic Natural Sciences Program. The PIs will design and develop an integrated underwater acoustic sensor network for ice-covered seas. During the one year of field work in 2017, researchers will deploy and monitor their underwater communications network system in Thule, Greenland. Starting in March, the PI will travel to Thule and spend about a week traveling on the sea ice via snow machine conducting ice/ocean profiling and the Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) placement. He will then travel on to Qaanaaq for another week for outreach and data analyses. During the next month, until approximately the third week in April 1-5 team members will travel to Thule and then on to the sea ice via snow machine for ocean profiling, modem siting and modem testing. All travel to Thule will be via the Air Mobility Command (AMC). The DGPS will then be recovered ending this part of the campaign. No travel is planned for 2018. Equipment is stored in Thule.

CPS will provide Thule clearances, lodging at Bldg 353, generator, truck and snow machine use, miscellaneous camping gear, communications gear, equipment storage and daily check-in support while in the field. The investigators will arrange and pay for all other logistics, including a bear guard and cargo coordination, from the grant.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2017Greenland - Qaanaaq03 / 17 / 2017 03 / 18 / 20171
2017Greenland - Thule03 / 10 / 2017 04 / 20 / 20175
2018Greenland - Thule0
2019Greenland - Thule0

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Parameters used to generate this report:, Grant# = "1344264", IPY = "ALL" 
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