Researchers at Michigan Technological University’s Great Lakes Research Center expect that Lake Superior will have substantial ice cover this year. The covering will help them test out new underwater equipment, as part of a push supported by the Alliance for Coastal Technologies.
The University of Michigan and the University of Hawaii are joining in the effort, helping to launch 17 under-ice instruments in the Portage Waterway this January, including underwater video cameras, hydrophones and light sensors. Also included are eight dissolved oxygen sensors the ACT is developing.
Similar systems will be deployed at different sites to evaluate how the sensors react to varying conditions, with the main goal being accuracy. “Because we’re testing at several different sites, we have to be sure that each of us is using exactly the same method in exactly the same way,” said Sarah Green, professor of chemistry at Michigan Tech to a local Fox TV affiliate.
For example, measurements are taken four times per week and twice daily from the Keweenaw Waterway to test the accuracy of oxygen readings in the Portage Waterway. This will help make sure that researchers can trust the instruments over long-term deployments.
“Last winter, as you know, was a very harsh winter, and this winter is shaping up to be much the same,” said Green. “So it’s really fortuitous to have the opportunity to make these measurements under such chilling conditions.”