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As the weather calms down around the cruising path of the R/V Helmer Hanssen, Max prepares to operate the new Kongsberg echosounder. This is a wide band acoustic transducer EK80. What is unique and novel about it is that it chirps (which is like whistling for brief periods), instead of pinging (which is similar to honking on a car). Together with the AZFP (stands for Acoustics, Zooplankton, and Fish Profiler) echosounder from the ASL Environment Company, both echosounders will tell the team where the plankton and fish are located in the waters outside of the Ny Ålesund research station. Before that happens, the Arctic ABC team needs to know how to operate it, test that all its cables and connections are working, and come up with a plan on how best to install both instruments in the water.
The ‘A‘ in Arctic ABC stands for applied technology. Scientists have developed and will be deploying autonomous drifting sensors in the Arctic sea ice. These sensors will observe and monitor the ice-associated biological communities during the winter (polar night) and spring seasons. Data collected from these sensors will provide a better understanding of how Arctic biological communities will respond to climate change.
In January, the Arctic ABC team will be installing sensors in Ny Ålesund, Svalbard (situated at 78° 55′ N, 11° 56′ E). Artur Zolich and Sturla Haltbakk, researchers from NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) are working with instruments that measure light throughout the year. The data that is harvested from these sensor instruments will be complimentary to the underwater measurements of light for the instruments that will be tested later on in January. Stay tuned!