Autonomous platforms

We are using autonomous platforms to obtain time series data throughout all seasons from the very remote regions in the Arctic and Antarctic.  Our autonomous platforms, or more generally speaking ‘ice tethered platforms’, are installed on sea ice and in general send their data through satellite communication back home. We mostly deploy them as part of our ship and airborne campaigns and leave them behind to continue monitoring the atmosphere, snow, sea ice, and upper ocean. Often, we simply call them ‘buoys’ although most of these systems are not able to float and depend on solid ice.  

We are using different types of platforms (see boxes below): The simplest platforms are position buoys that only report their own position and surface temperatures. These are the basis of our drifting observational networks to observe the ice motion and deformation of the ice pack. The more complex stations include various bio-physical sensors in and under the sea ice to measure ice and water properties, often combined with radiation measurements over and under sea ice. 

Autonomous platforms have been deployed since the 1990’s. More than 400 platforms have been deployed since 2012 and are listed on; about 130 of those during the drift experiment MOSAiC.  

More details on our ‘buoy program’ and live data is shown  on