ARCTIC DATA COLLECTION

UNDERSTANDING A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT 

Go Back

MISSION DESCRIPTION

2015: SalinityThe first Saildrone science mission undertaken for this mission was conducted in the harsh Bering Sea with Generation 3 (Gen3) Saildrones Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) with outriggers. Two (2) Saildrones measured sea-surface atmospheric and oceanic variables, total 14,844 km over 97 days at an average speed of 1.9 knots. This mission focused on mapping the salinity gradient of the ice-melt regions and the Yukon river delta. 

2016: Salinity, Fish Stock Assessment & Seal TrackingFor this mission, Saildrone USVs were equipped with sensors that added the ability to dynamically follow satellite-tagged fur seals and marine-mammal passive acoustics. A 70 kHz fisheries echo sounder was also added  to conduct a pollock acoustic survey. Two  Saildrone USVs surveyed 12,035 km over 103 days at 1.5 knots average speed with multiple data comparison with ship and moorings. 

2017: Salinity and pCO2Three Generation 4 (Gen4) Saildrone USVs (which have a faster and quieter monohull) sailed through the Bering Strait into the Chukchi Sea and the Arctic Ocean, reaching 75°N on 13 August 2017, observing high salinity at various mixing sites and fresher water at the edge of the ice shelf. These Saildrone USVs totalled 23,405 km over 76 days, averaging 2.5 knots. The Saildrone USVs were also equipped with an underway pCO2 system developed by PMEL, measuring partial pressure differences between the ocean and the atmosphere. The Saildrone USVs mapped areas where the Arctic Ocean is acting as a CO2 source as well as locations where the Bering Sea is acting as a CO2 sink, key variables in establishing the global CO2 budget.

TIMEFRAME

Summer 2015, 2016, 2017

SCIENCE PUBLICATION >

A saildrone collecting data in the Bering Sea during heavy weather conditions.

A fleet of 3 saildrones during a 2017 Arctic data collection mission.