Sea Ice Data

sea ice data header

Ice floating in the ocean is what makes navigation in the Polar Regions unique and challenging. Whether it is sea ice, formed of frozen sea water, icebergs calved from coastal glaciers, or river ice near the shore, floating ice presents a significant navigational hazard. The Polar Code recognizes this: “Ships shall have the ability to receive up-to-date information including ice information for safe navigation”.

References to ice are numerous throughout the text of the Polar Code but the bottom line is that, in addition to knowing how to manage their vessel in ice, masters sailing in the Polar Regions must plan their passages with full knowledge of the ice conditions to be expected and make tactical navigation decisions based on up-to-date ice information. This is where the ice charting services of the world offer an invaluable service to Polar mariners.

All of the Arctic states have national ice services that provide routine monitoring and charting of the ice conditions in support of marine safety. Within the Arctic Polar Code region, Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Russia, and the United States all have sophisticated ice information programs that incorporate large volumes of satellite imagery, computer models of ice dynamics and experienced human analysts and forecasters to produce timely ice charts to support the safety of marine navigation. In addition to producing ice charts for their own waters and economic zones, these ice services also collaborate to jointly construct ice charts for the entire Arctic Ocean. 

Text from IICWG.

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