An underwater robot created by Danish researchers of the Aarhus University is predicted to revolutionize glaciology through developing precise models for the melting of icebergs, the daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported.
Icebergs can have a surface that covers thousands of football pitches, but so far, scientists based their calculations of the shape and the size of the icebergs on guesstimates rather than factual data. NorthROV is the first apparatus of its kind that gives researchers access to study icebergs in their full size all year round.
Through a comprehensive 3D scan of the waters off the coast of Greenland, the group of three Danish engineering students dispelled the entrenched belief that icebergs are trapezoidal underwater by establishing that they can actually take a variety of forms. NorthROV, which took a couple of months to build, came in handy as it provided the researchers with invaluable material from the cold depths.
Tre AU-ingeniørstuderende har ved hjælp af en undervandsrobot skaffet ny overraskende viden om isbjerge: Et gennembrud for den internationale arktisforskning. https://t.co/wtDiYeA0E1 #AUengineering #Aarhusuni #dkforsk @ARC_AU pic.twitter.com/JqpOycBQfQ— Aarhus Universitet (@AarhusUni) April 6, 2018
"In fact, we saw was not close to trapezoidal, but rather round with a lot of snowy waterways, big tubes and deep holes," student Robert Søndergaard told Jyllands-Posten.
According to glaciologist Daniel Carlson of the Arctic Research Center at Aarhus University, the underwater robot can play a pivotal role in arctic research.
"It is a natural history and research milestone that we now have access to study icebergs underwater. It enriches the scientific insight into icebergs as natural phenomena, but it also allows engineers to develop precise calculation models for how they melt," Carlson commented.
The creators of NorthROV have qualified for the World Championship in robot design for university students which is set to kick off in May.