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NPS Research Team Prepares for Arctic, ICEX 2016
U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Michael Ehrlich

NPS Research Team Prepares for Arctic, ICEX 2016

By MC2 Michael Ehrlich

NPS Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC) student Lt. Stephen Fleet, center left, and Research Associate Sean Kragelund, center right, are instructed by Research Professor Dr. Tim Stanton, left, and Oceanographer Jim Stockel on pre-deployment operations of an ocean flux buoy in Spanagel Hall, Feb. 19. Fleet and Kragelund are one of a handful of NPS faculty, student teams preparing for an upcoming trip to the Arctic in support of Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016.

"Sean and Stephen are going to go up for about a week to deploy this buoy, which has a new instrument system attached to not only measure the vertical transport of heat and salt right underneath the ice … It also has a new feature that will measure the heat flux down in the stratified density structure part of the water column," explained Stanton.

Instrumentation like the ocean flux buoy is able to capture continuous data sets from multiple regions without the need for manned ice camps. This research will create uninterrupted raw data, and a unique operational experience for those involved.

"I think it's a phenomenal opportunity for students to get out there, and they can have the experience in operating unmanned vehicles in an extreme environment," said Kragelund. "Doing this in conjunction with ICEX 2016 ensures many of the logistical hurdles are taken care of by big Navy allowing us to focus on the science and research."

"This part of the program has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research for a number of years … incorporating students as much as possible to give them the opportunity to have a real world data acquisition and analysis experience," added Stockel.

As a student in the METOC curricula, Fleet said he is looking forward to contributing to our understanding of the changing Arctic region.

"The Arctic is melting, and part of this exercise is to further research into global climate change and how the Arctic will effect the environment," said Fleet. "What we are going to try and do is calculate thermal diffusivity, which gives us not only information that we can put into our models, but also provides information that other researchers can use for the advancement of the field."

February Title

February 2016

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