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Collaborative Research: Ocean-Ice-Atmosphere Interactions in the Terra Nova Bay Polynya, Antarctica

Polynyas, large areas of open water surrounded by sea ice, act like "windows" that expose the relatively warm ocean to the colder atmosphere. Although polynyas only cover a small fraction of the ocean surface, the transfer of heat and water vapor is so large that they play a significant role in the climate system leading to modifications of both atmosphere and ocean properties. With the aid of an innovative unmanned aerial system (UAS), referred to as an Aerosonde, an intensive late winter/early spring observing period will be conducted that will quantify the surface energy budget components over the polynya and adjacent sea ice and describe the forcing for and near surface properties of regional mesoscale atmospheric flows responsible for polynya formation. The proposed measurements will build upon the successful Aerosonde missions to TNB that took place during September 2009.

NSF logoThis research is supported by the National Science Foundation.

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Project Participants

University of Colorado
John Cassano
Scott Palo
Shelley Knuth (