Drones and weather balloons team up in Arctic tests

By Mark Rockwell

Arctic tests that paired drones and weather balloons could help improve data collection and provide a model for agencies looking to operate unmanned aerial systems in extreme climates.

Researchers from Sandia National Laboratory combined 13 foot-tall tethered weather balloons with free-ranging weather-data-collecting octocopter aerial drones in a restricted airspace test site that extends from Alaska's Prudhoe Bay almost to the North Pole.

The test site is a 700-mile-long, 40-mile-wide stretch of airspace from Oliktok Point – the northernmost point of Alaska's Prudhoe Bay. The area was put under the stewardship of Sandia, the Department of Energy and the Federal Aviation Administration in 2015 and serves as the base of operations for Sandia's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility.

Sonar technology to help Arctic research vessel safety

Sonar technology is anticipated to be a key safety feature of a polar research vessel currently being constructed.

FarSounder's longest range sonar system FarSounder-1000 is believed to be amongst the technology being installed on the British Antarctic Survey's RRS Sir David Attenborough.

Sally Dale, managing director of UK-based Pinpoint Electronics, the local FarSounder representative for the project, said: “Over my years in the industry, I have learned the best way to achieve the highest level of safety is by adding a FarSounder sonar to the navigation suite.”

The FarSounder sonar was primarily created for navigation and obstacle avoidance to help ensure vessel safety.

Its technology and the data it can generate is intended to supplement the more traditional onboard science mission sensors.

How a middle-aged Midwestern nobody made his mark in the Arctic

By Sarah Kaplan, The Washington Post

In 1845, two of the best ships England could build set off on a quest to find the fabled Northwest Passage – then vanished without a trace.

The mystery enthralled a generation of adventurers. No one could believe that the pride of the British Royal Navy, commanded by the legendary Sir John Franklin, had fallen victim to nature's wild menace. Convinced that there must be survivors, and tempted by the promise of a reward of 20,000 pounds from Franklin's wife, Jane, the best explorers of the era converged on the Arctic.


World’s largest data center to be built in Arctic Circle

By David Rein

  • Data center is predicted to draw on a record amount of power.
  • The facility is being developed by a US/Norwegian joint venture.
  • Company claims site will be a "fortress for data".

A small town in the remote north of the Arctic Circle is set to be home to the world's largest data center.

The Kolos facility is being developed by a US-Norwegian partnership, also called Kolos, who say the site will eventually draw on a record-setting 1000 megawatts of power.

On their website, Kolos claim Ballangen's cold climate and access to hydropower will help trim energy costs by as much as 60 percent.


The company added that Kolos will be a "fortress for data".

Scientists launch 6,200-mile journey through the Arctic to uncover the effects of global warming

  • Month-long, 6,200-mile trip aims to document the impact of climate change 
  • Scientists say sea ice will soon largely vanish from the Arctic during the summer
  • They predict impact will be felt across northern hemisphere as far as Florida



The email arrived in mid-June, seeking to explode any notion that global warming might turn our Arctic expedition into a summer cruise.

Arctic voyage finds global warming impacting ice, animals

Frank Jordans, The Associated Press 
Published Monday, August 14, 2017 12:45AM EDT 

VICTORIA STRAIT, Nunavut - The email arrived in mid-June, seeking to explode any notion that global warming might turn our Arctic expedition into a summer cruise.

"The most important piece of clothing to pack is good, sturdy and warm boots. There is going to be snow and ice on the deck of the icebreaker," it read.

The Associated Press was joining international researchers on a month-long, 10,000 kilometre (6,200-mile) journey to document the impact of climate change on the forbidding ice and frigid waters of the Far North. But once the ship entered the fabled Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific, there would be nowhere to stop for supplies and no help for hundreds of miles. So in went the boots: Global warming or not, it was best to come prepared.