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Tag: cold regions
  • Extreme Cold Weather Airfield Damage Repair Testing at Goose Bay Air Base, Canada

    Abstract: Rapid Airfield Damage Recovery (RADR) technologies have proven successful in temperate and subfreezing temperatures but have not been evaluated in extreme cold weather temperatures near 0°F. To address this capability gap, laboratory-scale and full-scale testing was conducted at these temperatures. Methods developed for moderate climates were adapted and demonstrated alongside methods that used snow harvested on-site as compacted backfill. After only a few days of training, seven experimental repairs were conducted by Canadian airmen at Goose Bay Air Base in Labrador, Canada, and load tested with a single-wheel C-17 load cart. Existing RADR technologies performed adequately despite the freezing temperatures, with the main tactic, techniques, and procedures modification being an increased cure time for the rapid-setting concrete surface material. Compacted snow-water slurry methods also performed well, demonstrating their ability to withstand over 500 passes of single-wheel C-17 traffic after sufficient freezing time.
  • Advancing Engineering With Nature Initiatives in Point Hope, Alaska

    Purpose: Growing environmental risk threatens communities in cold regions, particularly as climate change contributes to permafrost thaw, a reduction in sea-ice extent, and some of the largest rates of coastal erosion on earth. In the context of these significant and growing risks, the Engineering With Nature® (EWN®) program formed its cold regions work unit in 2021 to explore the potential to apply EWN approaches in these areas to mitigate environmental risk while supporting resilient outcomes. The work unit’s objectives include working with communities to preserve the natural environment and traditions, advancing the work unit’s understanding of cold-region environments, and providing guidance on the implementation of natural and nature-based features (NNBF) and EWN in cold regions to increase resilience. This technical note (TN) provides an overview of the EWN in cold regions technical approach as applied to Point Hope, Alaska, which includes community engagement, the integration of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) throughout the project, and the development of cold-regions-specific knowledge and tools.
  • Microbial Activity in Dust-Contaminated Antarctic Snow

    Abstract: During weather events, particles can accumulate on the snow near the Pegasus ice and Phoenix compacted-snow Runways at the US McMurdo Station in Antarctica. The deposited particles melt into the surface, initially forming steep-sided holes, which can widen into patches of weak and rotten snow and ice. These changes negatively impact the ice and snow runways and snow roads trafficked by vehicles. To understand the importance of microbes on this process, we examined deposited dust particles and their microbial communities in snow samples collected near the runways. Snow samples were analyzed at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory where we performed a respiration study to measure the microbial activity during a simulated melt, isolated microorganisms, examined particle-size distribution, and performed 16S rRNA gene sequencing. We measured higher levels of carbon dioxide production from a sample containing more dust than from a sample containing less dust, a finding consistent with viable dust-associated microbial communities. Additionally, eleven microorganisms were isolated and cultured from snow samples containing dust particles. While wind patterns and satellite images suggest that the deposited particles originate from nearby Black Island, comparisons of the particle size and chemical composition were inconclusive.
  • Incorporating Advanced Snow Microphysics and Lateral Transport into the Noah-Multiparameterization (Noah-MP) Land Surface Model

    Abstract: The dynamic state of the land surface presents challenges and opportunities for military and civil operations in extreme cold environments. In particular, the effects of snow and frozen ground on Soldier and vehicle mobility are hard to overstate. Current authoritative weather and land models are run at global scales (i.e., dx > 10 km) and are of limited use at the Soldier scale (dx < 100 m). Here, we describe several snow physics upgrades made to the Noah-Multiparameterization (Noah-MP) community land surface model (LSM). These upgrades include a blowing snow overlay to simulate the lateral redistribution of snow by the wind and the addition of new prognostic snow microstructure variables, namely grain size and bond radius. These additions represent major upgrades to the snow component of the Noah-MP LSM because they incorporate processes and methods used in more specialized snow modeling frameworks. These upgrades are demonstrated in idealized and real-world applications. The test simulations were promising and show that the newly added snow physics replicate observed behavior with reasonable accuracy. We hope these upgrades facilitate ongoing and future research on characterizing the effects of the integrated snow and soil land surface in extreme cold environments at the tactical scale.
  • Cold Impacts on Vehicle Electrical Systems: Developing a Baseline for Cold Testing Military Vehicles

    Abstract: Low temperatures can significantly affect vehicle operation. While many of the effects, like increased fluid viscosity and decreased battery capacity, are well documented, the impacts on the electrical system as a whole are not. The objective of this study was to investigate the impacts of temperature on the electrical systems of select military vehicles and to develop a baseline for future testing. A High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT), and a four-person diesel Polaris MRZR D4 were subjected to 15°C, 0°C, and −15°C temperatures while the loads on the battery and alternator were monitored. The HMMWV and MRZR were able to start on the first try for all tests. They both showed a slight increase in vehicle load current draw from the alternator as temperatures decreased. Future testing with more iterations and at lower temperatures will help identify clearer trends and improve testing procedures. As the Army becomes more reliant on electronic systems, it is becoming increasingly important that we understand how various climates will impact them.
  • International Workshop on Cold Regions Defense Infrastructure: 13–15 September 2022, Hanover, New Hampshire

    Abstract: The Inaugural International Workshop on Cold Regions Defense Infrastructure united engineers and scientists of the US Department of Defense with defense representatives from the other nations comprising the International Cooperative Engagement Program for Polar Research (ICE-PPR): Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and New Zealand. Through the ICE-PPR Memorandum of Understanding, Project Arrangements (PAs) enable the seven nations to share measurements, models, and access to research sites and facilities. The goal of the workshop was to work as a coherent team to identify needs and develop PAs for three major topic areas: infrastructure, water/wastewater, and energy. Increasing interest in earth’s polar regions necessitates identifying capabilities and gaps for these critical mission-relevant topic areas.
  • Cold Regions Vehicle Start: Next-Generation Lithium-Ion Battery Technologies for Stryker Vehicles

    Abstract: Operating vehicles in extremely cold environments is a significant problem for not only the public but also the military. The Department of Defense has encountered issues when trying to reliably cold start large, heavy-duty military vehicles, specifically the M1126 Stryker Combat Vehicle, in cold regions. As noted in previous work, the issue stems from the current battery technology’s limited temperature range. This current project utilized the protocol established in the previous phase to evaluate next-generation lithium-ion battery technologies for use in cold regions. Selected battery technologies met necessary military specifications for use in large military combat vehicles and were evaluated using a mechanical load system developed in previous work to simulate the starting of a Stryker engine. This work also evaluated the performance of the existing battery technology of a Stryker under Alaskan winter temperatures, which will verify the accuracy of the simulated cold room testing on the mechanical load system. The results of the tests showed that while the system was able to reliably operate down to −20°C, the battery management system encountered challenges at the lower end of the temperature range. This technology has a potential to reliably support cold regions operations but needs further evaluation.
  • Snow-Covered Region Improvements to a Support Vector Machine-Based Semi-Automated Land Cover Mapping Decision Support Tool

    Abstract: This work builds on the original semi-automated land cover mapping algorithm and quantifies improvements to class accuracy, analyzes the results, and conducts a more in-depth accuracy assessment in conjunction with test sites and the National Land Cover Database (NLCD). This algorithm uses support vector machines trained on data collected across the continental United States to generate a pre-trained model for inclusion into a decision support tool within ArcGIS Pro. Version 2 includes an additional snow cover class and accounts for snow cover effects within the other land cover classes. Overall accuracy across the continental United States for Version 2 is 75% on snow-covered pixels and 69% on snow-free pixels, versus 16% and 66% for Version 1. However, combining the “crop” and “low vegetation” classes improves these values to 86% for snow and 83% for snow-free, compared to 19% and 83% for Version 1. This merging is justified by their spectral similarity, the difference between crop and low vegetation falling closer to land use than land cover. The Version 2 tool is built into a Python-based ArcGIS toolbox, allowing users to leverage the pre-trained model—along with image splitting and parallel processing techniques—for their land cover type map generation needs.
  • Artificial Ground Freezing Using Solar-Powered Thermosyphons

    Abstract: Thermosyphons are an artificial ground-freezing technique that has been used to stabilize permafrost since the 1960s. The largest engineered structure that uses thermosyphons to maintain frozen ground is the Trans Alaska Pipeline, and it has over 124,000 thermosyphons along its approximately 1300 km route. In passive mode, thermosyphons extract heat from the soil and transfer it to the environment when the air temperature is colder than the ground temperature. This passive technology can promote ground cooling during cold winter months. To address the growing need for maintaining frozen ground as air temperatures increase, we investigated a solar-powered refrigeration unit that could operate a thermosyphon (nonpassive) during temperatures above freezing. Our tests showed that energy generated from the solar array can operate the refrigeration unit and activate the hybrid thermosyphon to artificially cool the soil when air temperatures are above freezing. This technology can be used to expand the application of thermosyphon technology to freeze ground or maintain permafrost, particularly in locations with limited access to line power.
  • Installation Resilience in Cold Regions Using Energy Storage Systems

    Abstract: Electrical energy storage (EES) has emerged as a key enabler for access to electricity in remote environments and in those environments where other external factors challenge access to reliable electricity. In cold climates, energy storage technologies face challenging conditions that can inhibit their performance and utility to provide electricity. Use of available energy storage technologies has the potential to improve Army installation resilience by providing more consistent and reliable power to critical infrastructure and, potentially, to broader infrastructure and operations. Sustainable power, whether for long durations under normal operating conditions or for enhancing operational resilience, improves an installation’s ability to maintain continuity of operations for both on- and off-installation missions. Therefore, this work assesses the maturity of energy storage technologies to provide energy stability for Army installations in cold regions, especially to meet critical power demands. The in-formation summarized in this technical report provides a reference for considering various energy storage technologies to support specific applications at Army installations, especially those installations in cold regions.