2017 US Arctic Survey

Explore Data Set

An Ecosystem Survey of the Changing US Arctic

In conjunction with NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), three saildrones traversed Alaska’s inhospitable waters to the Bering and Chukchi Seas to track melting ice, measure carbon dioxide levels, and count fish, seals, and whales. The data collected from this mission can be used to inform how changes in the Arctic can affect other climate and weather systems and/or marine ecosystems.

Saildrone launched three vehicles from Dutch Harbor, AK in July 2017. Two vehicles journeyed  through the Bering Strait into the Arctic Ocean for the first time, outfitted with a newly adapted system to measure CO2 concentrations.

“We want to understand how changes in the Arctic may affect large-scale climate and weather systems as well as ecosystems that support valuable fish stocks," said Jessica Cross, an oceanographer at NOAA Research’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), who is using saildrones to study how the Arctic Ocean is absorbing carbon dioxide.

The third USV surveyed more than 3,100 nautical miles in the Bering Sea counting walleye pollock, northern fur seals that prey on them, and the elusive North Pacific right whale. This work  built on research conducted during 2016, including a study of fur seal feeding rates. Carey Kuhn, ecologist with NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska Fisheries Science Center, and her team will also attach video cameras on fur seals to record feeding and verify the species and sizes of fish that fur seals are eating.

“We are excited to be able to use the video to see the ocean from a fur seal’s point of view,” said Kuhn. “Critical information about fur seals is still lacking and using the video camera and unmanned sailing vehicle will help us better understand this declining population.”

About the Data Set

Overview

  • Time period: 7/17/2017 - 9/29/2017 (72 days)
  • Number of drones: 3
  • Resolution: 1 min.

Atmospheric data includes:

  • Air pressure
  • Air temperature
  • Relative humidity
  • Wind speed and direction

Oceanographic data includes:

  • Oxygen concentration
  • Chlorophyll concentration
  • Conductivity
  • Water temperature
  • Sea surface temperature
  • Salinity

Access method(s):

  • ERDAP

Hosted by NOAA

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