The Arctic is experiencing rapid and drastic changes in sea ice conditions, with innumerable consequences for the environment and human activities. Oil and gas exploitation, mining prospects in Greenland and Northern Canada and shipping endeavours are pressured by insurance companies to increase the level of safety there. Operations around Antarctica are also inherently riskier than in the Arctic. Icebergs, sea ice, waves and ocean currents are crucial factors to consider. Despite the risks, tourism, adventure, shipping and research have intensified marine traffic both in the Southern and Arctic Oceans and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Accidents and bad planning based on poor information can have enormous (and unpredictable) repercussions on the environment, human lives, the economy and the society in general.

Overall objectives 

The overall objective of this project is to extend operational downstream services supporting maritime transport safety in the Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ): extend forecasts of waves into ice-covered seas, forecasts of sea ice in the presence of waves and remote sensing of waves and sea ice conditions. The results will enhance the GMES downstream services for waves and sea ice in Polar Regions. These are increasingly needed to support maritime transport (the target application) but also offshore operations, civil security, and coastal and environmental management in both the Arctic and Southern Oceans.

Specific Objectives

  • Develop a wave model for the MIZ.
  • Develop a sea ice model that includes the effects of waves in the MIZ.
  • Develop satellite remote-sensing methods for wave observations for use in model validation and forecast interpretation.
  • Validate the improved models using remote-sensing and in situ data.
  • Integrate the improved models into an onboard navigation software, NavPlanner.
  • Demonstrate results to selected users and ensure the sustainability of the service beyond the project duration.