Generated using E.U. Copernicus Marine Service Information
A new ice information app for navigation in polar regions
COPERNICUS MARINE SERVICE REGION
Svalbard, Arctic Ocean
The IcySea App supports on- and offshore activities in ice-covered waters for the wider area of Svalbard. It is addressed to national and local authorities, as well as to commercial and non-commercial users (for example: tourism, fisheries, research, offshore, and surveying vessels).
The IcySea-backend structure merges high resolution satellite imagery and optimized bias corrected ice drift modeled data in an automated fashion. Data transmission to the IcySea-frontend client software occurs in near real time and is optimized for low bandwidth connections (tested and proven with an Iridium connection). The graphical user interface is designed to smoothly integrate with the work processes on board a ship and to enable quick navigational decision making. IcySea enables the user in the ice to capture the present and future dynamics of sea-ice whilst using high resolution Sentinel-1 radar satellite images for routing decisions. Soon the service will become Arctic and Antarctic wide available.
Access to Sentinel-1 radar satellite images for the area surrounding Svalbard will be free of charge until December 2021. After this date there will be a free version where the user will only have access to certain data. To use the service either in its free or paid version, the user will be asked to register to the system and acquire a valid account.
The IcySea App makes use of the following Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service products:
This product provides ocean and ice forecasts which are used to develop calibrated ice drift forecasts.
Satellite observations of ice drift are used to evaluate the drift bias from the ARCTIC_ANALYSIS_FORECAST_PHYS_002_001A product.
One of the most valuable data to raise ice situation awareness. Radar images are neither affected by the sunlight nor the meteorological conditions e.g. clouds.
Despite the increasing accuracy of weather forecasts, still marine masters report significant differences between e.g. ice drift forecast and reality in polar regions. IcySea will help those professionals by providing among others, improved sea-ice drift forecasts.
The forecasts range 10 days into the future and cover the area around the Svalbard archipelago with a spatial resolution of 12.5 km . In the IcySea app the forecasts will be visualized with points anticipating the future location of ice patches. The IcySea sea-ice forecasts are improved by means of machine learning techniques developed at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Comparisons between ARCTIC_ANALYSIS_FORECAST_PHYS_002_001A and our optimized forecasts against real observations showed the error for the ice drift speed is reduced from roughly 3500 m/day to 3100 m/day (11.5 %), whilst the error for the drift direction is reduced from on average 45° to 41° (5%).
IcySea is meant to be an actionable application and as such it makes the data available to the user in Near Real Time. In particular:
When using a satellite data connection it is important to know how much data is transferred when installing and using the IcySea application. Below is a list of approximate data usage amounts for various aspects of the application:
|Information to download||Data transfer size|
|Application installation (landmask only)||~5.7 MB|
|Sea-ice concentration||~136 kB|
|Ice drift forecast||~176 kB|
|Sentinel-1 low resolution tile||~28 kB|
|Sentinel-1 high resolution tile||~1.7 MB|
|Tile age information||0 kB (information is computed in app)|
The Copernicus Marine Service products play a key role in the operational IcySea framework. The operational data sets provided by Copernicus Marine Service are used to quantify and to correct the bias of the current ice drift products. Ice drift, sea ice area fraction, sea ice thickness, and surface snow thickness are provided from the ARCTIC_ANALYSIS_FORECAST_PHYS_002_001A product and used to develop a statistical model able to improve the accuracy of the ice drift forecasts. Monthly biases in drift magnitude and direction for ARCTIC_ANALYSIS_FORECAST_PHYS_002_001A were identified using the SEAICE_GLO_SEAICE_L4_NRT_OBSERVATIONS_011_001 product. The last product we integrated in the service are radar images from Sentinel-1 (S1) satellite. The images are processed (e.g. calibration, noise removal, terrain corrected and reprojected) in order to obtain a smooth image which reavels spatial details of the ice structure.
Great to quickly and easily see real sea ice images, updated regularly.
It is for sure to good assistance in deciding where to go or not because of the ice, at least in the beginning of the season.
The ice situation is always a question we receive when handling ship calls during the dark season. Hopefully this tool will help us provide the correct information to our clients sailing up here.
Our colleagues on board already had a look at it and the feedback was very positive, and if Corona allows Svalbard voyages this year, the app will be used on board.
We are interested in ice monitoring along the Northern Sea Route.
The development itself is good, and interesting for the crews of ships, who can independently choose on the scheme the area in which they navigate. Each vessel may take the amount of information it needs and not overpay for unnecessary information.
I really like the functionality with quick grabs of recent sentinel images.
We’ll be working west and north of Spitsbergen Island and your products would be useful for us. We’d be glad to provide feedback and observed conditions in field.
22 May 2020
Authors: Panagiotis Kountouris (Drift+Noise), Cyril Palerme (Norwegian Meteorological Institute)
Everyone has some experience with forecasts either by watching weather news or the usage of weather apps providing information about e.g wind and rain. However, we sometimes see that those predictions are not in line with the actual weather conditions. Especially severe is the situation for marine masters navigating cruise-, cargo- or fishing vessels in remote polar regions. They reported us that the difference between e.g. ice drift forecast and reality in these regions is often too large to consider the forecast for operational planning. IcySea will help those professionals by providing improved sea-ice drift forecasts.
The forecasts range 10 days into the future and cover the area around the Svalbard archipelago with a spatial resolution of 12.5 km. In the IcySea app the forecasts will be visualized with points anticipating the future location of ice patches. In the image above each subsequent red point symbolizes a new position after 24 hours for up to 10 days into the future. The location 10 days in the future is plotted with solid red and the location of today in most transparent red (like the tail of a comet started from today 10 days into the future)
The IcySea sea-ice forecasts are improved by means of machine learning techniques developed at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. In particular by comparisons between modelled forecasts and real observations of the ice drift using random forest algorithms. This technique allows us to estimate the uncertainties in magnitude and direction of the ice drift and to apply corrections to the forecast. Improvements by this method are noticeable: We did compare forecasts of the widely used TOPAZ4 modelling system and our optimized forecasts against real observations. On average, for a 24 hours forecast the error for the ice drift speed is reduced from roughly 3500 m/day to 3100 m/day (11.5 %), whilst the error for the drift direction is reduced from on average 45° to 41° (5%). Most considerable improvement has been achieved for longer range forecasts: The ice drift speed error for a 10 days forecasts is on average reduced from 5500 m/day to 4400 m/day (20%) (panel a). In total more than 50% of the forecasts in the Svalbard region were improved (see panels c,d).
This short news article is just a teaser into the topic. For more information and a complete picture we refer to the Copernicus Ocean State Report 5 which will be accessible from the Copernicus site in 2021. Stay tuned for more exciting news!
10 March 2020
Did you know that accessing state-of-the-art sea-ice information is now easier than ever and comes at NO cost?
Our team is working hard to make that happen and we are pleased to inform you that IcySea is soon to be released. Sea-ice concentration, accurate ice drift forecasts, and radar images will be available for the Svalbard area to assist your operations. Are you curious how would the graphical interface look like? Above you can see a snapshot of the software!
Are you planning adventure cruises, fishing activities, or are you involved in strategic planning for national authorities? With IcySea you will have the most up-to-date sea-ice information at your fingertips. Visit our website and keep up with the news to be informed about the release date and how you can use and benefit from this data.