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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS
Doing Business As Name:University of Alaska Fairbanks Campus
PD/PI:
  • Terry E Whitledge
  • (907) 474-7229
  • tewhitledge@alaska.edu
Co-PD(s)/co-PI(s):
  • Daniel Oliver
Award Date:05/27/2009
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 148,070,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 148,070,000
  • FY 2009=$148,070,000
Start Date:05/15/2009
End Date:09/30/2015
Transaction Type: Cooperative Agreements
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040552 MREFC RECOVERY ACT
Award Title or Description:Construction and operation of the Alaska Region Research Vessel: Phase III - Shipyard Construction Costs
Federal Award ID Number:0939812
DUNS ID:615245164
Parent DUNS ID:048679567
Program:SHIP ACQUISITION AND UPGRADE
Program Officer:
  • Bauke Houtman
  • (703) 292-7704
  • bhoutman@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:West Ridge Research Bldg 008
City:Fairbanks
State:AK
ZIP:99775-7880
County:Fairbanks
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Alaska Fairbanks Campus
Street:West Ridge Research Bldg 008
City:Fairbanks
State:AK
ZIP:99775-7880
County:Fairbanks
Country:US
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). The award is made to the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) for the construction of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) based on the approval to proceed received from the National Science Board in March 2009. Delivery of the vessel is anticipated in mid-2013 with science operations beginning in 2014. Technical Description: The 242-foot Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) will be a multipurpose research ship that will dramatically improve access to Arctic waters and expand current scientific capabilities in the region. It is designed specifically to operate in seasonal sea ice and open ocean waters near Alaska; including the Chukchi, Beaufort, and Bering Seas as well as the eastern Arctic. To do so, the hull will be ice-strengthened to American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) ice classification standards. The ARRV will provide a much needed, technologically-advanced oceanographic platform to enable multidisciplinary teams to conduct field research at the ice edge and in seasonal sea ice up to 3.9 feet thick. The ARRV will have many advanced capabilities including next-generation science handling systems to improve safety and efficiency at sea, and a modern suite of satellite communications to link the ship to educational facilities ashore. It is designed to have a minimal influence on its own environment, including low underwater radiated noise (URN) for fisheries and acoustics research, and reduced stack emissions to enable atmospheric research. With twenty six dedicated science berths, the ARRV will be able to accommodate over 500 researchers and students annually and spend as many as 300 days at sea. The anticipated operational lifetime of the ARRV is at least 30 years. Broader Impacts: The Alaska coastline is longer than that of the contiguous forty eight states combined, and the area of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is approximately two thirds of the total US EEZ. The Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska sustain more than half of the total annual national fish catch. The area supports one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world, as well as rich and varied marine mammal populations. The Arctic region is changing rapidly. Perennial sea ice has been estimated to be decreasing by about 9% per decade, potentially leading to a summer ice-free Arctic Ocean by the end of the century or even sooner. In the summer of 2008 the Northwest Passage was open for the first time since satellite imagery has been taken. Along with the significant ecosystem changes and impact on coastal communities, this change could impact national security and commerce by providing regular trade routes further into regions along the north coast of Alaska. Opening this fragile area to commerce will heighten the importance of scientific research to understand the effects. Scientific interest in the Arctic region is intensive and highly varied. For example, dramatic changes in biological productivity have been predicted as a consequence of progressive warming, continuing ice recession, changing ocean currents, ocean acidification, and varying climatic conditions. Changing Arctic climate may well be one of the critical drivers for climate change over the entire planet. Besides biological and climatological changes, the Gulf of Alaska and Aleutian areas are also subject to major seismic processes. Extending our knowledge about subduction zones and the eruptive history of seafloor volcanoes would help predict the potential risk for devastating tsunamis. All of these scientific missions and activities are of continuing interest and great importance not only to the U.S., but also to the economic and environmental welfare of the entire globe. The Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) will provide a safe and highly effective platform for scientific access to these remote and inhospitable areas that are of such great national and international importance. The ARRV will replace the R/V ALPHA HELIX which was operated by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. When the vessel was retired from service in 2006 it was well past its expected 30-year service life. The ARRV will be the first NSF-built ship since the 1980?s. Committing to construction of this highly capable vessel represents a major NSF contribution to the International Polar Year legacy, advancement of US Arctic Policy, as well as the effort to better understand global issues, including climate change and ocean circulation.

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