The University of Washington recently launched a new exploratory study attempting to map the properties and movements of ocean water under the Dotson ice shelf in the western Antarctic.
Multiple Seaglider autonomous underwater vehicles, plus profiling floats, will be launched near the ocean edge of the glacier to collect data underneath it regarding how the ocean and glacier are interacting, which affects how the glacier is melting. The aim is to enable new observations to improve understanding of the interactions between oceans and ice sheets and predict future behavior.
Seagliders operate underwater by changing their buoyancy to profile up and down along with an internal moving-mass for heading and pitch control. At the surface they use a special antenna designed at the University of Washington and produced by Southwest Antennas to receive GPS signals and conduct two-way communications using the Iridium satellite network. This allows researchers to collect data remotely as well as give the glider new directions if necessary.

Southwest Antennas is proud to support the University of Washington's research work and we wish them luck with the project.

Seaglider autonomous underwater vehicle on water surface

Photo: A University of Washington Seaglider surfaces to transmit collected environmental data.