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Near Real Time Sea Ice Data Mapping

Dr Anna Hogg and Prof Andy Shepherd

The Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) produces near real time (NRT) measurements of Arctic sea ice thickness and volume based on data from the European Space Agency (ESA) CryoSat-2 satellite mission. These measurements have the potential to be extremely useful for maritime activities in the Arctic as well as seasonal weather forecasting. They also feed into other Arctic research programmes on for example automated ice navigation and future shipping routes. CPOM wishes to maximise uptake of this data. To do this we need to know more about who and where the potential users are, and how they are affected by changing sea ice volume and thickness. From this, it may be possible to produce bespoke information for both specific locations and different types of data user. The project will document contemporary and historical trends in sea ice conditions (thickness, concentration, type, drift, and snow loading) in the key sectors of the Arctic where maritime activities take place. These include, but are not limited to, Arctic shipping routes, major ports, ice navigation services, oil and gas exploration areas, Arctic State Exclusive Economic Zones, Arctic search and rescue (SAR) responsibilities, tourism and commercial fishing. This information will then be combined with additional resources to produce example assessments of how sea ice conditions might impact on a variety of Arctic users. The three expected outcomes of the project are:

  • A review of historical and contemporary maritime activities in the Arctic, including routes travelled and their frequency.

  • A quantitative assessment of contemporary and historical sea ice conditions along these maritime routes.

  • An example report on historical and contemporary sea ice conditions oriented to the user groups for whom the information is of value, including graphical and tabulated data and qualitative narrative text.