Sailors and members of the Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station clear ice from the hatch of the Seawolf-class submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) as it surfaces above the ice in the Arctic Ocean during ICEX 2011. (U.S. Navy photo)
The quickening pace of melting ice is leading the Navy to prepare for more Arctic activity and confront growing competition with Russia in the region.
The sea service is analyzing research findings from efforts to deploy underwater drones such as the Seaglider beneath the ice in the¬†Arctic¬†Ocean to assess how quickly the ice is melting and better understand how soon the U.S. and Russia will be competing for new strategic waterways in the region.
The drones had been measuring temperature and salt content to help scientists develop more accurate computer models with which to predict the anticipated future pace of melting ice, according to Martin Jeffries, science adviser to the Office of Naval Research, or ONR.
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An oceanographer from the Naval Oceanographic Office establishes a satellite connection to the Glider Operations Center at NAVOCEANO before launching the seaglider unmanned underwater vessel from the Military Sealift Command oceanographic survey ship USNS Henson on March 24, 2010. (Photo by Lily Daniels/U.S. Navy)