Upward-looking sonar (ULS) is a primary source of data for measurements of ice thickness. Self-contained units now have the data capacity and accuracy/resolution sufficient for unattended operation over periods of months to years. Recent technological advances have now led to the next generation of ice-profiling sonar (IPS), incorporating much expanded on-board data storage capacity (69 Mbytes to 8 Gbytes) and powerful onboard real-time firmware. The enlarged data storage of the newest ice profilers enables collection of ocean wave data during periods of open water in summer. Semiautomated detection of open water in the form of short duration occurrences of ice leads is now possible. The capability to derive acoustic returns from a range of levels in the water column and the lower part of the ice cover hold promise for improving understanding of processes occurring during the initial freeze-up and early consolidation phases of sea ice growth and for detection of ice properties in the keels of consolidated ice.

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