Navy studies the Arctic as ice loss opens ship lanes

By on March 4, 2015

The U.S. Navy is studying conditions in the Arctic as it prepares to conduct more operations there, according to National Public Radio. The investigations are using and testing new tech.

Some of the efforts rely on submersible gliders and buoys to study ongoing changes in the Arctic while others are looking at the effects of ice and cold temperatures on Navy equipment and ways to make working in the cold region easier on U.S. military personnel.

“The only time we currently operate U.S. Navy warships in the Arctic is along the coast of Norway up to Russia,” said Blake McBride, U.S. Navy Commander to National Public Radio. “Even if it’s ice-free, there will be times and places where the temperature is extremely low, and things break in ways you wouldn’t necessarily expect.”

The Navy expects to conduct more and more operations in the Arctic as ice loss opens up shipping lanes for U.S. ships. It’s also looking at new techniques to account for the icy conditions, like applying ice-phobic coatings to its ships so they don’t get weighed down by freezing sea-spray.

Top image: One of the dozens of probes sent out last summer to monitor arctic ice. (Credit: Martin Doble / University of Washington)

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