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Polar Profiling Float

To learn about the largely unknown current in the Arctic Ocean, scientists are testing new Polar Profiling Floats, which drift for months beneath sea ice, gathering data on ocean waters and transmitting them via satellite to scientists on shore. If the floats rise and encounter thick ice, their hardened antennae can withstand repeated impacts, and they are programmed to sink to a shallow depth and try again (and again) to find areas with thin or no ice.

 (Ilustration by Jayne Doucette and flash animation by Dina Pandya, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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