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Photo by Eric Regehr/USFWS
July 18, 2014

Researchers from the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory are part of a large-scale effort to closely monitor the summer sea-ice melting in the Arctic.

Sensors placed around ice in the Beaufort Sea will provide a wealth of data on the melting process, which will help discover how changing ocean conditions will affect the ice. The project, funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, includes scientists from several countries and institutions.

The study is focusing on the marginal ice zone, the area where ice begins to form on the ocean, between solid ice and open water. The area under study is off the coast of northern Alaska, where the marginal ice zone is a relatively new feature as the extent of the sea ice has retreated. The project hopes to learn more about how the increased amount of open water in the Arctic is changing the physics of how the ice breaks up in the summer, as well as how the decrease in Arctic ice cover will change the entire system of sea, ice and atmosphere in the area.   

 

UW APL oceanographer Craig Lee is the chair of the project's science steering team. For more information, check out the project's website or watch the explanatory video below.

Read the UW Today press release