Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Underwater robot to explore ice-covered ocean and Antarctic ice shelf

Date:
October 19, 2010
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
Researchers in Canada are deploying an underwater robot to survey ice-covered ocean in Antarctica. The mission will study the effect of ice shelves on the mixing of sea water.

Gavia with Diver at ice surface, Pavilion Lake 2007.
Credit: 2010 Donnie Reid

Researchers at the University of British Columbia are deploying an underwater robot to survey ice-covered ocean in Antarctica from Oct. 17 through Nov. 12, 2010.

Related Articles


Scientists predict that the sea ice area around Antarctica will be reduced by more than 33 per cent by 2100, accelerating the collapse of ice shelves. Up to hundreds of metres thick, ice shelves are floating platforms of ice that cover almost half of Antarctica's coastline.

The mission will study the effect of ice shelves on the mixing of sea water, and will provide critical data for the Antarctica 2010 Glacier Tongues and Ocean Mixing Research Project led by investigator Craig Stevens at the New Zealand National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research. The field site is located in New Zealand's Ross Dependency in Antarctica and the team includes scientists from New Zealand, Canada, the United States and France.

Until recently, scientists have had limited ability to access ice-covered waters, but the research team's use of a high-tech robot aims to change that.

"Few labs in the world are able to investigate the spatial variability of ocean properties under ice," explains Assoc. Prof. Bernard Laval, head of the UBC Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and Fluid Mechanics research group.

"Findings from this study will be unique as there have only been a few under-ice AUV deployments globally, even fewer in the vicinity of ice shelves," says Laval, who teaches civil engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science.

The AUV, named UBC-Gavia, measures 2.5 metres long by half a metre wide and is equipped with temperature and salinity sensors, current meters, mapping sonar, a digital camera and water quality optical sensors. It will navigate the deep cold waters adjacent to, and possibly under, the floating 100-metre thick Erebus Glacier Tongue in McMurdo Sound, at a latitude of 77 south.

Traveling to Antarctica to operate the AUV are Andrew Hamilton and Alexander Forrest, UBC Civil Engineering PhD candidates in Laval's lab.

Hamilton and Forrest will pre-plan the AUV missions, setting the flight path and depth for the robot to follow and selecting what sensors to activate. These instructions are uploaded to the AUV, which then dives under the ice collecting data on its own, returning to the ice-hole at the end of the mission.

"The deployments are expected to return important data from a largely uncharted ocean environment," says Hamilton, who specializes in environmental fluid mechanics.

"Under‐ice datasets will allow us to better understand ice-ocean interactions and provide valuable information for climate modelers."

New Zealand's Stevens, who worked as a postdoctoral researcher at UBC in the early 1990s, says, "The key is to try and locate the mixing hotspots in time and space. These hotspots appear to be perhaps 1,000 times more energetic than background conditions. The AUV is a key component of our suite of instruments and provides the vital spatial element."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "Underwater robot to explore ice-covered ocean and Antarctic ice shelf." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101013095333.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2010, October 19). Underwater robot to explore ice-covered ocean and Antarctic ice shelf. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101013095333.htm
University of British Columbia. "Underwater robot to explore ice-covered ocean and Antarctic ice shelf." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101013095333.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins