Sea Technology

MAR 2018

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www.sea-technology.com March 2018 | ST 23 the base of the instabilities induc- ing large uncertainties and errors in climate models. Monitoring the pro- cesses occurring in the Arctic region is crucial to better understand the phenomena occurring, identify the damages caused by climate change and identify appropriate strategies to counteract the process. Svalbard Archipelago The Svalbard Archipelago in the Norwegian Arctic Sea is used by sci- entists for exploring the impact of possible climate changes. The retreat of tidewater glacier fronts in this area has been particularly pronounced in recent decades and has led to the release of huge volumes of cold and freshwater and an accumulation of sediments near the sea-ice interfac- es. Particularly interesting is the case of the Kongsfjorden, an Arctic glacial fjord located on the west coast of Svalbard (79°02'44.95" N, 11°34'57.03" E), where high sedimentation rates have been recorded in the past few years. In the inner part of this fjord, many glaciers reach the sea with marine fronts that form a high vertical wall of ice protruding above sea- water. Direct measurements in the proximity of glacier fronts are often lacking because the possibility of sudden falls of massive ice blocks makes data acquisition in these areas extremely dangerous. Nav- igation is even forbidden in this area due to safety reasons. UVASS Project The goal of UVASS is to collect data necessary to study the important pro- cesses that are involved in the energy balance at the surface of the glaciers, which is controlled by the mutual in- teractions between the atmosphere, seawater, freshwater originating from the melting ice and the surface of the glacier. ROVs, USSVs (unmanned semisub- mersible vehicles) and UAVs (un- manned aerial vehicles) are involved in the UVASS project for performing air, water and ice data sensing and sam- pling close to the marine fronts of gla- ciers. A preliminary scientific data collection campaign was carried out by ISSIA-CNR in 2015 in Kongsfjorden, Norway, where the scientific community of Ny Ålesund is the northernmost year-round settlement on Earth. For the first time, a USSV (Shark) was specifically adapted and used to perform the discrete sampling of waters and PROTEUS, OTTO and Splash unmanned vehicles operating near the Blomstrand- breen glacier.

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