HEYWOOD_UENV18NEX - Sending AutoNaut into sea ice regions: challenges and opportunities for polar science
Sending AutoNaut into sea ice regions: challenges and opportunities for polar science
The polar oceans are vast, underexplored, and challenging to study. Scientific instruments can be damaged by icebergs, sea ice or rough weather. Yet these regions host processes crucial for understanding the causes and impacts of climate change. In polynya areas (openings in the sea ice), heat is exchanged with the atmosphere, and subsequent densification of seawater drives the global thermohaline ocean circulation. The Arctic and Antarctic regions also host significant natural resources and there is a need to learn how to exploit these sustainably.
Autonomous surface vehicles are a new way to observe both the ocean and the atmosphere, offering the potential for year-round observations in hazardous environments. This project will work on adapting the wave-powered surface vehicle AutoNaut for scientific missions in polar regions, for example making it more robust to withstand low air temperatures and surface icing. We aim to determine the current and future capability for these novel platforms to answer important questions about the future impact of physical changes (e.g. in sea ice or temperature) on climate, biogeochemistry and ecosystems of the Southern Ocean.
You will work closely with the AutoNaut engineers; AutoNaut Ltd are partners on the project and you will spend at least a month each year working there. You will explore ways to make AutoNaut more robust and better able to withstand cold, icing from sea spray, sea ice abrasion and impact. You will design and run experiments in the Roland von Glasow Air-Sea-Ice Chamber at UEA to test AutoNaut components. For example, we will test samples of different hydrophobic coatings to see if they will minimise the growth of ice on the vehicle superstructure. The goal is to optimise the build of a new AutoNaut, and you would then participate in trials of the vehicle in UK, European and/or polar seas, to demonstrate its performance for marine science applications.
In parallel with this, you will analyse output (e.g. sea ice extent) from UK Earth System Models for the Southern Ocean and determine feasible current and future scenarios for using such technology to explore this hostile environment. This provides training in analysis of large model data sets, and will aid you in the design of deployments of AutoNaut in the Antarctic.
The NEXUSS CDT provides state-of-the-art, highly experiential training in the application and development of cutting-edge Smart and Autonomous Observing Systems for the environmental sciences, alongside comprehensive personal and professional development. There will be extensive opportunities for students to expand their multi-disciplinary outlook through interactions with a wide network of academic, research and industrial / government / policy partners. You will be registered and hosted in the Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (COAS) at UEA in Norwich but will spend time working with supervisors at Southampton, BAS and AutoNaut (the CASE partner). Specific training will include:
- oceanography, ocean physics, marine biogeochemistry, marine ecology
- cryospheric science, sea ice processes and atmospheric processes
- numerical modelling and Earth System Models
- computing and processing of large data sets
- seagoing and marine data collection skills
- experimental design using the sea ice chamber
- engineering challenges for AUV design, development and operation.
his project has been shortlisted for funding by the NEXUSS Centre for Doctoral Training. Undertaking a PhD with the NEXUSS CDT will involve attendance at mandatory training events throughout the course of the PhD.
Selected candidates who meet RCUK’s eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC/EPSRC studentship - in 2017/18, the stipend is £14,553.
In most cases, UK and EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for 3 years are eligible for a stipend. For non-UK EU-resident applicants NERC/EPSRC funding can be used to cover tuition fees, RTSG and training costs, but not any part of the stipend. Individual institutes may, however, elect to provide a stipend from their own resources.
This PhD studentship is expected to begin in September/October 2018. Both full-time and part-time study are possible (those planning to study part-time may wish to discuss this with the supervisor before applying).
A relevant background resource for this project is the website of the Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS), http://www.soos.aq
Heywood, K.J., L.C. Biddle, L. Boehme, P. Dutrieux, M. Fedak, A. Jenkins, R.W. Jones, J. Kaiser, H. Mallett, A.C. Naveira Garabato, I.A. Renfrew, D.P. Stevens, and B.G.M. Webber. 2016. Between the devil and the deep blue sea: The role of the Amundsen Sea continental shelf in exchanges between ocean and ice shelves. Oceanography 29(4):118–129, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2016.104.
Hansman, R.J., and Turnock, S., “Investigation of Surface Water Behavior During Glaze Ice Accretion,” Journal of Aircraft, 26, No. 2, 140-147, February 1989.
Queste BY, Heywood KJ, Kaiser J, Lee GA, Matthews A, et al. 2012. Deployments in extreme conditions: Pushing the boundaries of Seaglider capabilities. In 2012 IEEE/OES Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) (pp. 1–7). IEEE. doi:10.1109/AUV.2012.6380740
Dr Sophie Fielding, Expert in Southern Ocean Ecosystems (BAS)
Mr David Maclean (Director of AutoNaut Ltd, CASE supervisor)
Professor Stephen Turnock, Professor of Maritime Fluid Dynamics (University Southampton)
- Start date October 2018
- Studentship Length 3 years 8 months
- Acceptable First Degree Engineering, Geophysics, Oceanography or Mearine Science, Physics, Natural Sciences, Meteorology, or Environmental Sciences
- Minimum Entry Standard 2:1 or equivalent