Beneath the Arctic polar cap

The Arctic polar cap has been melting at an astonishing rate over the past 20 or so years. In addition to causing higher sea levels and other environmental impacts, the decreasing surface is opening up new resources and allowing for new transportation and shipping opportunities.

As interest in the region grows among industries and nations, there’s a pressing need for greater knowledge about what’s happening in the Arctic Ocean. UConn’s UnderWater Sensor Network (UWSN) Lab is developing a wireless system to collect data in the ice-covered region, with funding from the National Science Foundation.

The team at UConn will be working with researchers at University of Delaware, who are interested in sea ice changes and ocean acoustics. The UWSN Lab will design and deploy the underwater communication network, which will wirelessly stream data – including sea temperature, acoustics, and current velocity – from the bottom of the sea through acoustic waves from sub-surface ocean sensors to a control center.

The UConn team working on the three-year, $800,000 project is led by Zheng Peng, assistant research professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Together with Jun-Hong Cui, professor of computer science and engineering, and Shengli Zhou, professor of electrical and computer engineering, the researchers will speed up the flow of information for Arctic oceanographers, acoustic communication scientists, and computer network engineers by providing data in real time from beneath the surface of the Arctic. … (Read more)