The Barrow Project
The U.S. Arctic remains one of the most difficult places on Earth for year-round scientific observations and research. Logistical support is very expensive, and scientists frequently face dangerous, cold sea-ice dynamics, aircraft icing--even polar bears. While satellites can obtain data in remote regions, their application to many arctic environmental problems is hampered by persistent cloudiness and the complexity of the underlying snow-ice surface.
One of the major recommendations of the 1997 report, "Logistics Recommendations for an Improved U.S. Arctic Research Capability" (www.arcus.org/logistics/index.html), was to increase use of robotic aircraft to meet the growing need for environmental observing in the region. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) excel in "dull, dirty, dangerous" missions.
The National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs funded a project to establish a facility in Barrow, Alaska, adapt the Aerosonde to extreme arctic conditions, adapt and integrate miniature instrumentation, and assimilate Aerosonde data into predictive models.
The EOL holdings for this project consist of NCAR/PSU MM5 model forecast plots for April, May, and Sept 2002 in support of Aerosonde UAV flights.