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Buoy on Arctic sea ice.

Communicating Under Ice

A lone buoy sits atop Arctic sea ice in the Canadian Basin—a yellow dot in a vast field of white. Suspended in the water below the buoy, a beacon sends out sound signals to communicate with other buoys and with autonomous underwater vehicles hundreds of miles away. The buoy is part of a new acoustic communications system developed by WHOI engineer Lee Freitag and colleagues for use under sea ice. The system takes advantage of a naturally occurring sound channel within the Arctic Ocean, allowing autonomous vehicles to use sound signals to communicate and navigate over long distances under the ice. (Photo courtesy of Peter Koski, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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