The Office of Naval Research (ONR) Arctic and Global Prediction Program is motivated by the significant sea ice retreat that has occurred in recent summers in the Arctic Ocean, and the implications for the U.S. Navy of the observed and predicted increase in maritime activity due to the diminishing summer ice cover. The overarching goal of the program is to improve the coupling of arctic system modeling and sea ice prediction capability at a variety of space and time scales in support of safe and efficient Navy mission planning and execution. To achieve this goal, the program supports basic research in three inter-dependent efforts:
Research supported by core program funds covers a range of topics, including sea ice dynamics and mass balance; ocean hydrography and heat storage; atmospheric temperature profiles, circulation, and cloud properties; sea spray and icing; and high resolution eddy-resolving regional arctic climate modeling. In fiscal year 2012 (FY12), the first year of the program, 22 awards for 17 projects were made with core funds. Among these awards is a suite of six projects that will be integrated into a single atmosphere, ice, and ocean observing effort: Seasonal Ice Zone Reconnaissance Surveys (SIZRS). It is coordinated by the University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory and takes advantage of U.S. Coast Guard Arctic Domain Awareness flights by C-130 aircraft out of Air Station Kodiak, Alaska.
Also in FY12, 11 awards for nine projects were made with Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ) Departmental Research Initiative (DRI) funds. The MIZ DRI is a five-year project (FY12 through FY16) with the following objectives:
The DRI team has met twice and drafted a science and experiment plan that is expected to be released in late 2012. The field experiment, planned for spring through autumn 2014 in the Beaufort Sea and Canada basin, will involve the deployment and operation of a suite of sensors and platforms, including: ice mass balance and wave buoys, ice-tethered profilers, ocean flux buoys, automated weather stations, acoustic navigation and communication arrays, gliders and polar profiling floats, open ocean wave buoys, acoustic wave and current (AWAC) meters, waveriders, and wavegliders.
In February 2012, the program issued a call for planning letters for a new Departmental Research Initiative: Sea State and Boundary Layer Physics in the Emerging Arctic Ocean. This is also a five-year project (FY13 through FY17), with field experiments planned for spring through autumn of 2015 in the Beaufort and/or Chukchi seas. The Sea State DRI has the following provisional objectives:
For further information about the ONR Arctic and Global Prediction Program, go to http://www.onr.navy.mil/Science-Technology/Departments/Code-32.aspx or contact contributors of this article, Martin Jeffries (martin [dot] jeffries [at] navy [dot] mil) or Scott Harper (scott [dot] l [dot] harper [at] navy [dot] mil).