Study of the Arctic Ocean is limited by the sea ice and harsh weather that prevent access through much of the year. These constraints have restricted data acquisition in the past and obscured understanding of events, processes, and variability of the environment of the Arctic Ocean. Breaching this isolation can be achieved through the use of new technologies and the adaptation of existing instrumentation to monitor the shelf and basin independent of surface conditions.
Through much of its history, Arctic oceanography has been dedicated to the study of large-scale seafloor structure, ocean circulation, and hydrographic structure. Recently, expedition-based observations have been augmented by moored or ice-tethered instruments that provide year-round observations during the span of their deployment. With increased knowledge collected over an extended period, variability has become apparent but is not well understood. Permanent seafloor instrumentation is the only way to understand this variability (seasonal and annual) in the context of what may be rapid climate change (annual to decadal).