Overview . Hardware


METOCEAN Compact Air Launched Ice Beacon (CALIB)

METOCEAN's Compact Air Launched Ice Beacon (CALIB) is an Argos-reporting mini beacon (A-size sonobuoy configuration) which may be launched from either fixed or rotary-wing aircraft. The design is based upon our highly successful AN/WSQ-6 series of buoys. Our CALIB buoys collect meteorological data in support of weather forecasting in polar climates and are also used by oceanographers for tracking ice flows.

The configurations currently available for the CALIB are as follows: Ice Temperature, Barometric Pressure, ARGOS telemetry, Alkaline Battery and Lithium Battery. Please contact a METOCEAN Sales Agent regarding requests for additional sensors not listed above. Custom options are available.

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The family of METOCEAN ice beacons consists of a group of products that use two basic hull shapes and a wide variety of sensors. Measurements acquired by METOCEAN's ice beacons include ice movement (GPS position), atmospheric parameters, ice thickness and temperatures and sub-surface parameters. Depending on the requirements, either a tubular hull (10-cm diameter x 70 cm) or a large canister hull (54-cm diameter x 30 cm) can be chosen. All hulls are constructed of aluminum and heights of either hull type can be increased to accommodate additional batteries and/or a larger sensor payload. The tubular hull is intended to be placed into a hole drilled into the ice, which provides excellent stability and eliminates the need for guide lines. It has an extendable satellite antenna mast on top of which the GPS antenna is located. It is particularly compact and light to allow for air deployment via helicopter. The canister hull rests directly on the ice surface and has a 10 cm diameter mast containing the satellite antenna. If external sensors are used, then either waterproof connectors or potted fittings are used to route signal cables. Both beacon types are full watertight and are activated by the removal of a magnet, affixed with Velcro, to the outside of the hull.

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METOCEAN Ice Mass Balance Buoy

The METOCEAN Ice Mass Balance Buoy was developed in partnership with CRREL (Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory). Its instrumentation is used to measure ice thickness and ice temperature, and to acquire meteorological and upper oceanographic data.

The instrumentation of the METOCEAN Ice Mass Balance Buoy consists of a Campbell Scientific Data logger, an Argos transmitter, a Thermistor String, and above ice and below ice Acoustic Sounders measuring the positions of the surface and bottom within 5 mm. In addition to the mass balance instrumentation, the buoys also have a GPS, a barometer, and an air temperature sensor.

The Thermistor Strings are manufactured out of PVC rod with YSI thermistors spaced every 10 cm. These rods are easily connected to assemble strings that are extended from the air through the snow and ice into the upper ocean. The thermistor accuracy is better than 0.1 C.

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METOCEAN Compact Arctic Drifter

METOCEAN developed the M-CAD (METOCEAN Compact Arctic Drifter) in conjunction with the Japan Marine Science and Technology Center to provide polar research scientists with cost-effective, in-site, near real-time environmental information. The M-CAD reports meteorological and oceanographic data via satellite and also stores this data internally as a backup. This system consists of four major elements: underwater sensors, meteorological sensors, a system controller and a data telemetry system -- complete with internal data logger. All of the underwater sensors communicate with the main system controller via inductive coupling telemetry on the underwater strain member. The system controller is microprocessor-based and controls each of the sensor data acquisition and processing modes.

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METOCEAN Polar Ocean Profiling System

The METOCEAN Polar Ocean Profiling System (POPS) is designed for deployment on the Arctic ice cap. The POPS is an advanced generation payload for Ice Platforms. Past experience with sensors, telemetry and data acquisition have played a major role in the development of the POPS Platform.

The METOCEAN POPS Platform provides meteorological and oceanographic sub-surface data transmitted via IRIDIUM telemetry. The system consists of six (6) major elements:

  • System Controller
  • Compact Flash Data Logger
  • Ice Platform
  • Meteorological Sensors
  • Data Telemetry and Global Positioning System
  • Subsurface CTD Vertical Profiling System
  • All data acquisition, processing, formatting and messaging are managed by the METOCEAN CPU, which has been adapted from the highly successful ARGOS reporting drifting buoy family of products.

The illustration to the right shows a POPS Platform using closed-cell IonomerĀ® foam as the flotation collar. The system features a waterproof communication port for easy configuration and verification. The system power supply consists of "D size" lithium cells for long term deployment.

The subsurface system is mounted on a 0.156-inch diameter oceanographic cable. The cable is interfaced to the platform using a strain relief. The inductive modem ground plane is located on the top plate of the platform. Signals are passed to the POPS Platform using a waterproof connector.

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Automatic weather station for monitoring:

  • air pressure and tendency
  • air temperature and max/min temperature
  • GPS position (e.g. ice drift) (optional)
  • other after request
  • The station can be deployed on land and ice.
  • Sensor sampling

    A new data set is typically gathered from the sensors every 10 minutes and transmitted to an Argos satellite every 90 seconds. The 90 second repetition rate allows for positioning via Argos. If GPS positioning is used, the transmit rate can be reduced to once every 200 seconds to reduce both power consumption and Service Argos costs. Expected lifetime for standard battery pack: 3 years


    • air deployable
    • highly reliable
    • robust
    • low power consumption
    • low temperature operation
    • customer design

    Learn more at CMR

WHOI Ice-Tethered Profiler

The Ice-Tethered Profiler was developed at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Sea ice presents a significant impediment to sustained observation of the Arctic Ocean. Manned polar field operations with the associated logistics of ice-capable ships and aircraft are expensive, which limits sampling. Furthermore, perennial sea ice precludes or makes difficult the use of many modern automated observational instruments such as profiling and/or acoustically-tracked expendable floats. As a result, the Arctic Ocean under the ice pack remains very poorly sampled in comparison to the temperate seas.

This observational gap represents a critical shortcoming, both for operational programs at high northern latitude and for the envisioned "global" ocean observing system. Building on the ongoing success of ice drifters that support multiple discrete subsurface sensors on tethers and the WHOI-developed Moored Profiler instrument capable of moving along a tether to sample at better than 1-m vertical resolution, we designed and field tested an automated, easily-deployed Ice-Tethered Profiler (ITP) for Arctic study. The system consists of a small surface capsule housing a controller interfaced to an Iridium data telemetry unit and inductive modem, a plastic-jacketed wire rope tether extending down 500 to 800 m into the ocean terminated by a ballast weight, and a new variation of the WHOI Moored Profiler (in shape and size much like an Argo float) that mounts on the tether and cycles vertically along it. Communication between the Profiler and surface controller is supported by an inductive modem (utilizing the wire tether and seawater return), and between the surface unit and shore via a satellite link.

Learn more at the WHOI ITP website

Metocean Upper Temperature of the polar Oceans (UPTEMPO)

The UpTempO Buoy is designed to measure the temperatures of the upper 60 m of the Arctic Ocean. These increasingly open water areas represent a tremendous storage of heat that influence summertime sea ice melt, water mass formation, marine ecosystems, the following autumn's sea ice growth, atmospheric conditions including cloud formation, and possibly the climate of nearby terrestrial ecosystems.

The goal is to deploy as many of these relatively inexpensive buoys as possible in the early Arctic summer months to monitor the onset of heat absorption and ice melt throughout the summer, and the subsequent autumn cooling and ice growth. The battery life of these buoys is two years, and they are intended to survive the winter ice.

The spherical hull contains the electronics, batteries, sea level pressure barometer, SST thermistor, and Iridium antenna. Below the hull hangs a 60m string of 12 thermistors and pressure sensors at 20m and 60m (nominal) depths.

Learn more at the Polar Science Center web site

Polar Area Weather Station (PAWS)

The METOCEAN Polar Area Weather Station (PAWS) is a compact, rugged and easy to use polar platform which provides quality controlled data in harsh weather conditions. The PAWS was designed for unattended operations at remote sites requiring high reliability, low power consumption, and dependable operational performance. The PAWS surface unit mast is equipped with an Iridium satellite antenna, GPS, air temperature sensor, barometer port and an optional humidity sensor. The sea surface temperature sensor is internal to the unit hull assembly. The PAWS is also outfitted with a wind speed mast assembly consisting of a RM Young anemometer and PNI TCM2.5 compass. The PAWS has been designed to transmit weather related data on a 3-hour interval over the Iridium satellite network for a period of 1 year.

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Airborn Expendable Ice Buoy (AXIB)

An Air-Deployable Expendable Ice Buoy (AXIB) that can withstand multiple freeze-thaw cycles and operate equally well in ice prone ocean or fresh water. The AXIB can be dropped from an airborne platform, land on an ice surface, right itself to the vertical position, anchor and stabilize itself in the ice, withstand several freeze-thaw cycles and continue to transmit data while anchored to the ice or floating in the ocean. The unique hull design of the AXIB allows it to withstand multiple freeze-thaw cycles and continue to function. The AXIB is particularly well suited for deployment and utilization in any ice zone where repeated freeze-thaw cycles occur.