Enabling technology for mapping and monitoring of extreme environments is essential for modern future management and sustainable utilization of the Barents Sea. Arctic conditions require a high degree of autonomy and integrated observation systems to reduce operation time and weather dependency, and to enable measurements in all seasons. To obtain a holistic understanding, a coordinated effort is needed to map climate- and ecosystem drivers over larger spatial and temporal scales, including under ice measurements, by combining high-resolution data and time series of the Barents Sea.
The Nansen Legacy therefore combines traditional ship-based sampling with high-resolution measurements of biophysical-chemical data from AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) equipped with sensors including CTD, oxygen optodes, the IOP (inherent optical properties) concentration of Chl a, cDOM (colored dissolved organic matter) and TSM (total suspended matter), ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) for estimation of current velocity profiles and zooplankton biomass, and turbulence parameters in open water and under ice boundary layers.
For larger temporal and spatial spans, remote sensing is superior for the surface ocean, whereas in-situ instruments carried by the vessels, underwater moorings and vehicles conduct measurements and samples not obtainable from remote sensing. To increase the quality of the earth observation system, the Nansen Legacy uses in situ measurements like sea ice thickness and characteristics, sea surface temperature, Chlorophyll a (Chl a) and ocean color to calibrate remote sensing data, while the remote sensing data are also used as a priori information for vessel based and robotic mapping operations.