Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes Experiment - MIZOPEX

9 July 2013 - 8 August 2013

Lead Scientist: James Maslanik

Observatory: OSC

Despite the significance of the marginal ice zones of the Arctic Ocean, basic parameters such as sea surface temperature (SST) and a range of sea ice characteristics are still insufficiently understood in these areas, and especially so during the summer melt period. MIZOPEX was conceived to address directly these information gaps through a targeted, intensive observing campaign that would take advantage of the capabilities of multiple classes of UAS combined with in-situ sensing and satellite observations.

MIZOPEX mission flights were conducted from the Oliktok Long Range Radar Station at Oliktok Point, Alaska, about 30 miles west of Prudhoe Bay Alaska. Flights begin in Restricted Area R-2204, a restricted flight area of 4 miles in diameter centered at Oliktok Point and assigned to the Office of Science in the US Department of Energy for atmospheric research purposes. MIZOPEX mission flight paths extend northward through an Altitude Reservation (ALTRV) corridor to international airspace. The MIZOPEX campaign established several important new “firsts” including the first flights of scientific payloads using unmanned aerial system from northern Alaska into international airspace and over international waters. Over the four weeks, MIZOPEX missions included flights of the ScanEagle and DataHawk instrumented unmanned aerial systems. The ScanEagle was operated by a team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. DataHawks were operated by a team from the University of Colorado Boulder that included the MIZOPEX Principal Investigator, Professor Jim Maslanik.

MIZOPEX success depended on interagency collaborations among NASA, DOE, FAA, and the US Air Force as well as essential contributions from participating university partners. The DOE Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program and Sandia National Laboratories supported MIZOPEX as a collaborative and ARM-approved Intensive Operating Period. Members of the North Slope of Alaska ARM team based at Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque were on the ground at Oliktok during MIZOPEX operations to operate Restricted Area R-2204 on behalf of the DOE/Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research Office.

More information is available at MIZOPEX.


William Emery
Andrew Mahoney
Gregory Walker
Gary Wick


Maslanik JA. 2016. Investigations of Spatial and Temporal Variability of Ocean and Ice Conditions in and Near the Marginal Ice Zone: The “Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes Experiment” (MIZOPEX) Final Campaign Summary. Ed. by Robert Stafford, DOE ARM Climate Research Facility. DOE/SC-ARM-15-046.


Bradley A, S Palo, G LoDolce, D Weibel, and D Lawrence. 2015. "Air-Deployed Microbuoy Measurement of Temperatures in the Marginal Ice Zone Upper Ocean during the MIZOPEX Campaign." Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 32(5), 10.1175/JTECH-D-14-00209.1.

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