Maryland Today | Extreme Drone Ops Could Improve Ice Measurements
NOAA now uses satellite imagery to make such measurements. But in order to gauge accuracy, scientists must check it against data obtained at surface level. Until now, that meant sending teams out onto the ice to collect information in a process that’s costly, time-consuming and dangerous. Teams can find themselves stumbling over ice ridges or encountering areas that are simply impassable. In theory, drones could do the job more easily and quickly.
“Unmanned systems offer capabilities that just weren’t available before,” said NOAA principal investigator and scientist Sean Helfrich. “We’re hoping that by using such systems and equipping them with relatively low-priced cameras, we can get a valid estimation of what the satellite is seeing and how close that is to actual sea ice observations.”
Drones equipped with the right sensors can also capture information about ice properties such as reflectance,…