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Images: Another Piece in the Arctic Puzzle

WHOI researchers and international colleagues return to a waiting helicopter after a long day near the North Pole in April 2011. In just eight hours the team installed four instruments in the ice, including an Ice-Tethered Profiler (ITP), whose yellow buoy is in the foreground. The ITP is the latest in a series of ITPs seeded in the Arctic over several years to continuously sample ocean properties under the ice as the ice floe it sits on, drifts with ocean currents. (Photo courtesy of Rick Krishfield, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Senior research specialist Rick Krishfield "talks" to the ITP to make sure it functions properly before leaving it frozen in the ice floe. Krishfield has long experience working in the Arctic and has placed ITPs there since 2004, working with scientist John Toole, who developed the ITP with WHOI engineers. Toole's goal is to install and maintain a fleet of ITPs in the Arctic, monitoring and relaying how the Arctic Ocean is changing with the region's warming conditions. (Photo by Kris Newhall, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

WHOI engineers Jeff Pietro (left) and Kris Newhall attach the cylindrical ITP to the wire that will hang below the yellow buoy (visible at right) when the installation is complete. A battery powers the ITP, allowing it to crawl up and down the wire. The ITP travels from a half-mile deep up to the ceiling of ice while its sensors measure ocean properties, creating a 'profile' of ocean conditions. (Photo by Rick Krishfield, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

ITPs do what humans cannot—measure Arctic Ocean conditions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, under the ice and through seasons of complete darkness. Developed by physical oceanographer John Toole and WHOI engineers, the ITP system consists of a yellow surface buoy that sits on an ice floe, a urethane-coated wire (attached to the buoy) ending with a weight to keep the wire vertical, and the cylindrical profiler. The profiler cycles along the wire, carrying oceanographic sensors through the water column. Data on water properties are telemetered to shore in near-real time and available on the ITP Web site. (Illustration by Jayne Doucette, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)