Arctic Mobile Observing System/Science (AMOS)

"Arctic Mobile Observing System/Science" is an Office of Naval Research (ONR) Departmental Research Initiative, or DRI, which is expected to run from FY17-FY21. Research funded under this effort is expected to result in new sensors, platforms, and techniques that will enable the sustainment of a mobile observing capability that can enhance our scientific understanding of the physical Arctic Ocean environment and lead to improved predictions for this region. The primary focus of the AMOS DRI will be on mobile systems that drift with the sea ice cover and/or operate autonomously within the water column, but all ideas and concepts will be considered. The overall goal of the effort will be to advance new mobile observing methodologies that will enable studies of sea ice dynamics and thermodynamics and improve our understanding of the circulation and evolution of water masses in the Arctic.

Research efforts that may be appropriate for this initiative include but are not limited to:

  • Development of new sensors and systems that address Arctic observing needs
  • Upgrades to existing platforms and sensors to permit deployment in the Arctic 
  • Explorations of autonomous behaviors appropriate for the Arctic environment 
  • Novel sensing strategies employing complementary observation types or platforms
  • Low-power systems that can collect critical environmental data over long periods of time
  • Under-ice navigation and data communication capabilities

A small number of modeling or assessment studies that might guide system development (e.g. Observing System Simulation Experiments) may be funded, and planning letters on this topic are also encouraged.

The DRI will run for five years, with deployment opportunities and in situ observational studies expected to occur in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Collaborations with international researchers and other observational programs are encouraged. Planning letters for research to be supported under the AMOS DRI should be prepared according to the standard guidelines. The purpose of a planning letter is to allow prospective investigators to submit a brief description of their scientific idea so it can be evaluated against current research needs and any useful programmatic or technical feedback can be provided before additional time is invested in writing a full proposal. This allows ONR to provide some indication of the likely success of a full proposal based on program interests and priorities.

Multiple components, investigators, and approaches are expected to be supported under this initiative. It is not expected that a single integrator or entity will be supported to explore a prototype observing system, but rather that many individual investigators will be funded based on the quality and relevance of their proposed research involving different components. As with all ONR DRIs, successful investigators funded by the program will be expected to work productively and constructively in an inter-disciplinary team environment, and activities will include participation in two DRI team meetings each year.

All planning letters should be submitted as PDF files no later than June 30, 2016 by email to Dr. Scott Harper, (

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