Navy deploys buoys in Arctic for climate research

Sept. 14 (UPI) -- The Office of Naval Research, Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy and several other partners have deployed climate change research buoys into the Arctic Ocean.

The mission, announced Wednesday by the Navy, was a joint effort to collect oceanographic and temperature data for environmental modeling purposes. The research is designed to assist future naval operations in the Arctic.

"Polar lows are like hurricanes of the north and the data collected from these buoys will help us with numerical weather prediction, which will help to keep our and our partner forces safe," chief officer of the National Ice Center Cmdr. Ruth Lane said in a press release.

The program is under the direction of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In a recent event, Hurricane Hunter aircraft from the administration dropped scientific buoys in the path of Hurricane Irma.

The disposable units are called Air Expendable Ice Beacons and have been deployed out of C-130 aircraft flying from Thule Air Force Base in Greenland in a joint operation with the Danish Air Force.

"The buoys will provide data for 3 to 5 years," said Navy Lt. Emily Motz, "providing operational and scientific community access to the in situ observations available to all forecasters and researchers through the International Arctic Buoy Program."

The Navy and U.S. military as a whole have expressed concerns over how melting ice and changing Arctic conditions might affect operations in the future. China and Russia have both been stepping up their presence in Arctic waters, with the melting ice providing both new sea lanes and access to new mineral and oil deposits.
Stephen Carlson

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