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First Drone Goes Flying to North Pole on Climate Mission


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Roberta Pirazzini prepares a drone for flight over the Arctic.

Researchers at the Finnish Meteorological Institute joined the biggest Arctic expedition in history to fly the first drone near the North Pole.

Credit: Jan Rohde/Alfred-Wegener-Institut

Researchers at the Finnish Meteorological Institute joined the biggest Arctic expedition in history to fly the first drone near the North Pole to measure surface albedo, or sunlight reflected by the ice.

This could help scientists understand how much solar radiation is absorbed by the Earth and how much is reflected back into the atmosphere, in hopes of predicting how fast sea ice will melt.

The study was especially challenging due to the deep cold and the fact that global positioning satellites experience small uncertainties at extreme northern latitudes.

Despite these and other challenges, the researchers conducted 18 flights of up to 30 meters over the ice over a three-week period.

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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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