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Persistent measurements of surface waves in landfast ice using fiber optic telecommunication cables

Broken sea ice off of Oliktok Point, the fieldsite for this project, on July 21, 2022 (Worldview Imagery).

This project will use distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) on existing fiber optic telecommunication cables, supplemented by in situ wave and satellite sea-ice measurements, to spatially resolve the attenuation of ocean waves in landfast sea ice. Landfast sea ice primarily forms off the coasts in shallow water. Unlike ice in deep water, landfast ice attaches itself to the coastlines or shallow seafloor on the continental shelves.

The resulting high-resolution dataset of waves in landfast sea ice will help address fundamental questions about attenuation in landfast ice and breakup. This leads to two questions that this research will be used to address:

(1) What is the spatial and temporal variability of wave attenuation in landfast sea ice? (2) What drives landfast breakup?

Funding Agency


Jim Thomson (UW)

Rob Abbott and Michael Baker (SNL)