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Measurement of sea-ice draft using upward-looking ADCP on an autonomous underwater vehicle

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During March 2003, Autosub, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) operated by the UK National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, was deployed under sea ice north of Thurston Island, Amundsen Sea, Antarctica (at ∼71° S, 100° W). The vehicle was fitted with an upward-looking 300 kHz acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) to provide current velocity above the AUV. The ADCP also recorded ranges to the ocean–ice interface. Such data can be used to derive sea-ice draft by using a number of novel processing steps such as correcting for the coordinate systems of the ADCP unit and the vehicle as well as corrections for changes in sound speed. This paper outlines the processing stages required to obtain a probability density function (PDF) of sea-ice draft and presents PDFs for the region north of Thurston Island. The distribution of ice draft was found to be unimodal, with modes between 2.2 and 2.4 m. Given the uncertainty in sound speed, the limit of accuracy was estimated as ∼6 cm.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2006

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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