Healy Conducts Arctic Continental Shelf Research

Science!!!ARCTIC OCEAN – A Coast Guard Cutter Healy boatcrew along with Ethan Roth,a research engineer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, recovered a bottom-moored autonomous acoustic recorder called a High-frequency Acoustic Recording Package (HARP), Aug. 8, 2009, while on a scientific research mission in the Arctic Ocean.

The 1,100-pound HARP spent nearly a year on the ocean floor at a depth of almost 1,000 feet measuring ambient noise at its location.

To locate and recover the device the Healy was steered to the position the recorder was deployed a year ago. A signal was sent from the cutter to the mooring that commanded it to release the ballast weights that held it to the bottom of ocean.

After a 5-minute assent, the device reached the surface and was located by the boatcrew. The crew towed the instrument to the stern of the Healy where it was hoisted onto the ship using a large a-frame crane.

While deployed, a hydrophone recorded sounds made by whales, seals and other marine mammals. It also monitored sounds created by movements of ice sheets above and the sea floor below. This information will be used to help scientists understand the natural sound level in the ocean.

The Healy’s current mission is of part of the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Task Force’s efforts to determine the outer limits of the U.S. continental shelf.

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S. St.-Laurent is scheduled to join the Healy Aug. 10, 2009, to aid in collecting data that will used by both countries. For photos, please  visit the cutter Healy’s Flickr photostream at Flickr.com/photos/cutterhealy.

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