The MOSAiC ROV Program: One Year of Comprehensive Under-Ice Observations

Christian.Katlein [ at ]


The overarching goal of the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operations during MOSAiC was to provide access to the underside of sea ice for a variety of interdisciplinary science objectives throughout an entire year. The M500 ROV was equipped with a large variety of sensors and operated at several sites within the MOSAiC central observatory. Despite logistical and technological challenges, over the full year we accomplished a total of ~60 days of operations with over 300 hours of scientific dive time. 3D ice bottom geometry was mapped in high resolution using an acoustic multibeam sonar covering a 300 m circle around the access hole complementing other ice mass balance measurements on transects, by autonomous systems, airborne laser scanning and from classical ablation stakes. Various camera systems enabled us to document features of sea ice growth and decay. From early March onwards, with the sun rising again, a main focus was the investigation of the spatial variability in ice optical properties. Light transmittance was measured with several hyperspectral radiometers under marked survey areas, including various ice types such as first-year ice, second-year ice, pressure ridges, and leads. Optical surveys were coordinated with surface albedo measurements, vertical snow profiles and aerial photography. The ROV also supported ecosystem research by deploying sediment traps underneath pressure ridges, sampling algal communities at the ice bottom and in ridge cavities with a suction sampler as well as the regular towed under-ice zooplankton and phytoplankton nets. Ice algal coverage was further investigated using an underwater hyperspectral imaging system, while the ROV video cameras enabled the observation of fish and seals living in ridge cavities. The ROV also carried further oceanographic sensors providing vertical and horizontal transect measurements of small-scale bio-physical water column properties such as chlorophyll content, nutrients, optical properties, temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen. Here we present first highlights from the year-long operations: the discovery of platelet ice under Arctic winter sea ice during polar night and the extensive time series of multibeam derived ice draft maps, which allow together with airborne laser scanner data a full 3D documentation of ice geometry.

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Conference (Poster)
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Not peer-reviewed
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AGU Fall Meeting, 01 Dec 2020 - 17 Dec 2020, online.
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Katlein, C. , Anhaus, P. , Matero, I. , Krampe, D. , Arndt, S. , Regnery, J. and Nicolaus, M. (2020): The MOSAiC ROV Program: One Year of Comprehensive Under-Ice Observations , AGU Fall Meeting, online, 1 December 2020 - 17 December 2020 .


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