Arctic ABC Development have developed autonomous observational platforms that can be frozen into fast- and drift-ice in the Arctic. The instrumentation include acoustic and optical sensors, in addition to standard oceanographical sensors. All instruments and sensors are distributed on separate platforms. Each platform can operate independent and autonomously. Data from most the sensors are available in real time through satellite transmission. However, data from the echo sounder are too bit to allow for satellite transmission. To accommodate this, a data harvesting system using broadband radio have been developed. This system can be used from drones, planes and ships. The platforms have so far been used in fast ice in Canada and on Svalbard, as well as in the pack ice in the central Arctic Ocean. The currently last deployment was at the North Pole in July 2022 from FF Kronprins Haakon. The platforms have also been used in connection with the large international campaign MOSAIC in 2020.
Arctic ABC Development will develop and successfully deploy a minimum of six under-ice tethered observatories (ITO) that are to be deployed in the Arctic Ocean (See figure 1). The ITO will provide optical and acoustic data from the Arctic Ocean drift ice ecosystem, including during the polar night. Estimated operation time for each deployment is expected to be between 6 and 12 months, depending on ice extend and drift speed. The platforms will have a satellite communication ability that allows for real-time data transfer and monitoring of its performance and location. Data acquisition include optical characterisation of the ice surface and biota using both newly developed and patented underwater hyperspectral imaging (UHI) techniques and more traditional HD cameras, bioacoustics, physical (temperature, salinity and light) and biochemical (chi a, nutrients) characterisation of the water column in the upper 100m, as well as properties of the ice itself (drift, thickness, temperature etc). This novel technological platform will provide crucial data both for Arctic ABC and support future scientific explorations, monitoring and management purposes of the Central Arctic Ocean.
Currently data on the physical parameters of the arctic system are collected with much higher temporal and spatial resolution than biological ones. The proposed autonomous system aims to address that imbalance. Together with its partners, Arctic ABC Development will focus on the development of fundamental knowledge on fault-tolerant and autonomous mobile sensor platforms in ice and water through multidisciplinary theoretical, numerical and experimental research within the fields of marine biology, hydrodynamics, arctic technology, navigation and automated control systems. In addition, reliable energy supply using self-charging sea water battery technology will be studied.