Navy Leads International Effort to Deploy Buoys Into the Arctic Ocean > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2017 —
The U.S. National Ice Center, in coordination with the Office of Naval Research, Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy, the Danish Joint Arctic Command, Environmental and Climate Change Canada and the University of Washington, deployed buoys into the Arctic Ocean during a joint mission Sept. 7.

The joint mission was conducted to collect weather and oceanographic data to enhance forecasting and environmental models, thereby reducing operational risk for assets 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,” said Navy Cmdr. Ruth Lane, commanding officer, U.S. National Ice Center.

For example, Lane said, when Hurricane Irma was approaching the Caribbean Islands and came within the range of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration‘s Hurricane Hunter aircraft, they flew out and dropped buoys through the hurricane.

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The information provided by NOAA’s buoys improved the tracking and intensity models for Irma, she said, adding that forecast accuracy improves tremendously from the surge of local observations.

“Our goal with these Arctic buoys is a similar return on investment,” Lane said.

She said the ice-hardened buoys, known as Air Expendable Ice Beacons, were deployed from a Royal Danish Airforce C-130 aircraft deploying out of Thule Air Base in Greenland.

“Pilots supporting the Danish Joint Arctic Command were conducting training flights in the high Arctic, so we were able to leverage these flights to deploy the buoys for the first time out of a Danish aircraft and only the second time over the North Pole,” said Navy Lt. Emily Motz, who’s with the U.S. National Ice Center and is the coordinator for the Arctic Buoy Program.

“The buoys will provide…

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