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The Second International Ice Charting Working Group
October 3-5, 2000
Hosted by the Icelandic Meteorological Office, Reykjavik
Grand Hotel Conference Center, Reykjavik
Dr Magnus Johnson, Director Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO), welcomed the Second Meeting of the International Ice Charting Working Group (IICWG-2) to Reykjavik. He gave an especially warm welcome to foreign participants, and said it was an honor for IMO to host IICWG-2 at the same time as it was celebrating its 80th anniversary. He also welcomed Ms Beatriz Lorenzo of the Naval Glaciological Center, Hydrographic Service, Argentine Navy as an observer to the meeting. Dr Johnson said that he was also honored by the participation of Iceland's Ministry of the Environment.
Sea ice has been known for a long time in Iceland, and it was less than 150 years ago that sea ice movements caused death and deprivation in the country. Historically, the earliest sea ice observations date back to the 9th century. In 1873 the first systematic steps were taken by IMO to collect meteorological and sea ice information. It has been very important for Iceland to monitor, map, and forecast its sea ice extent and movement, and to understand its scientific foundation and its relation to global environmental change. Dr Johnson said that today's international cooperation in this area was imperative, and that the IICWG was an excellent response. As an example of a future goal, Dr Johnson proposed that all fishing fleets receive real-time access to detailed meteorological and sea ice information.
On behalf of Iceland's scientific community, Dr Kristjan Kristjansson, Head of the Science Division of Iceland's National Research Council, addressed the group and described the organization of Iceland's scientific establishment. The Council has an advisory role to government, with its mission to reinforce and underpin the cultural and economic foundation of Icelandic society by promoting scientific development and technical innovation. To date, Iceland's most significant contemporary scientific advances have been effective fisheries management, geothermal energy development and exploitation, developing highly productive agriculture, and coping with Iceland's harsh environment. Recent decades have witnessed successful new initiatives among the Nordic countries. Dr Kristjansson mentioned last Saturday's signature of an agreement between the US National Science Foundation and the Icelandic Research Council. He noted that science and technology will become increasingly important in international affairs, as common approaches are sought to global issues. Finally, he noted the establishment of a new Institute, the Stevansson Arctic Institute, whose goal was to promote sustainable development, facilitate scientific inquiry, disseminate information to the general public, and advise the Government on Arctic issues. He recognized the support of Dr Thor Jakobsson in the Institute's establishment.
Dr Thor Jakobsson, Head of the IMO's Sea Ice Unit, thanked Messrs Johnson and Kristjansson and the conference's supporters, the Iceland National Research Council and the Office of Naval Research, Europe and the Canadian Ice Service. He discussed the week's site visits and pointed out the poster presentations placed throughout the meeting room. Dr Jakobsson then introduced the meeting's other two co-chairs, Mr David Grimes of Canada, and CDR Zdenka Willis of the United States. In keeping with IICWG practice, each would serve to chair one day's activities.
Mr David Grimes, Director-General of the Services, Clients and Partners Directorate of the Canadian Meteorological Service, spoke on behalf of himself and CDR Zdenka Willis. He noted the fruitful initial cooperation facilitated by IICWG-1, and addressed four topics: 1) recent IICWG history, initial organization, and recognition of linkages with other ice-related groups; 2) expectations for IICWG accomplishments and developing a "results agenda" and a common recognition of emerging issues, 3) a common recognition of discussion topics and emerging issues (e.g., data availability, training, and research and development); and 4) the scope and future direction of the group's work, especially in the context of other ice-related groups. Mr Grimes also noted that the two subcommittees have little time to meet during IICWG-2, and requested that subcommittee members informally coordinate their interests and ideas outside of the formal plenary discussions.
On behalf of the chairs, Mr Grimes recognized the excellent preparatory work of the organizing committee members, Dr Thor Jakobsson, Ms Sigthrudur Ármannsdóttir, Dr Ingibjörg Jónsdóttir, Ms Cheryl Bertoia, and Mr John Falkingham.
Dr Trausti Jónsson, Head, Department of Research and Processing, IMO, provided opening remarks for the hosts. He showed a historical sea ice analysis for Iceland, and discussed the sea ice's impact on Iceland's climate.
The Organizing Committee, represented by Dr Jakobsson of IMO and Ms Bertoia of the US National Ice Center (NIC), led a discussion on the IICWG-2's goals and objectives. They thankfully acknowledged the sponsorship of the IMO, NIC, CIS and ONR. Ms Bertoia showed the relations among the IICWG, the WMO, and the Canadian Ice Working Group. Ms Bertoia said that the IICWG viewed its role as a complementary one to the WMO from a technical and operational standpoint. Ms Bertoia discussed methods to extend the concept of operational cooperation. This cooperation could be pursued in the following areas: common technology, data exchange, analyst training, operational data access, coordinated research and developments, and the leveraging of funding and science opportunities through multi-agency participation.
The group reviewed the following goals and objectives: reporting on IICWG-1 actions, developing a collaborative action plan for current issues, and the solidification of the IICWG as a viable, operational group. Ms Bertoia also reviewed the group's many recent accomplishments: support for QuikSCAT validation, the ready availability of International Ice Patrol (IIP) iceberg warnings in Europe, research vessel coordination, ARKTOS collaboration, possible IMS toolkit development, web-based information exchange, correspondence to IMO/IHO on ice information included in Electronic Chart Display and Information Services (ECDIS) , operational digital ice chart exchange, and joint Canada-US validation of EUMETSAT SAF products.
IICWG-2 participants introduced themselves. A list of meeting participants is provided Appendix 1.
The agenda was reviewed and approved. The IICWG-2 agenda is provided as Appendix 2.
JCOMM Subgroup on Sea Ice and Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (GDSIDB)
Mr Mikhail Krasnoperov thanked the IMO for hosting this meeting and sent the greetings of the WMO Secretary General. He presented the main sea ice-related achievements within the WMO Commission for Marine Meteorology (CMM) and the Joint WMO/IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM). Mr Krasnoperov reviewed activities relating to the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (GDSIDB), including its Working Plan for 2000-2002; processing and developing new formats to standardize the international exchange of operational sea ice data within ECDIS; exchange and quality control of sea ice data; and status of sea-ice publications recommended by Members for revision and issuance. Mr Krasnoperov provided a summary of GDSIDB data holdings, the status of national submissions, and the GDSIDB's work plan for the future. He showed the new proposed structure for JCOMM. In conclusion, he said that the WMO was ready to assist the IICWG in its work.
Baltic Sea Ice Meeting (BSIM)
Mr Klaus Strübing of the German Ice Service (Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency- BSH) and Chair of the BSIM reported on the group's activities in the past year. Mr Strübing described ice information products for navigation in the Baltic Sea and their methods of distribution. Routine ice information products provide only a general view of the ice conditions, and are more for strategic planning than tactical support. More harmonization in personnel and technology are needed to provide more comprehensive service. Mr Strübing reported on the 20th meeting of the BSIM, which was held in Riga, Latvia in late September. Results included the following: 1) a decision by group members to regularly transmit data and products via e-mail, in addition to GTS and telefax; 2) an agreement to identify a subset of ice climate statistics for the GDSIDB; 3) a decision to propose to the World Meteorological Organization an international standard for color coded ice charts, and 4) the creation of a joint web page of the Baltic sea ice services. BSIM members are now jointly developing new environmental products for the entire Baltic Sea region to be provided free of charge.
Joint Ice Working Group (JIWG)
Mr John Falkingham of the Canadian Ice Service (CIS) provided a report on the past year's activities of the US-Canada JIWG, which had its 14th meeting in St John's Newfoundland in May 2000. Over a dozen actions were taken. Mr Falkingham described six actions of interest to the IICWG: 1) the signature of a technology cooperation agreement for training and new product development; 2) the conduct of an ECDIS workshop in June 2000 to seek input on ISO 57; 3) finalization of a post-hoc quality control plan for archived data; 4) work toward the resolution of GIS-related differences in Great Lakes ice charts (coastlines and geographic boundaries); 5) the initiation of a technical study to consider Internet-based communications for data and product exchange and; 6) support for a CEOS disaster management initiative relating to ice hazards.
A consolidated report on current IICWG actions is provided as Appendix 3.
Ice Center Reports and Issues to be Addressed by the IICWG
Dr Jakobsson provided an update on his agency's activities and the tools the IICWG needs to develop to further successful international ice charting cooperation. He described "attention intensity" devoted to nearby regions, input and output information, output targets, users, and information channels. Further development work lies ahead in data management, modeling, long-range forecasting, remote sensing, climate studies and sea ice, and international cooperation. Dr Jakobsson described the IMO's geographical and functional sea ice responsibilities, and how it responds to the needs of Icelandic and foreign users. Sea ice in Icelandic waters varies greatly in terms of severity and extent, thus causing a different work load at IMO from one year to another. One particular item the Dr Jakobsson stressed was that while the IMO's recent activities have been useful, much progress can be made by acquiring new techniques. Making use of new remote sensing capabilities and improved integrated weather, sea ice and ocean information systems were noted as important and attainable goals. For a small organization such as the IMO, adequate funding is critical, and can be augmented by the benefits of successful international collaboration.
National Ice Center (NIC)
CDR Zdenka Willis of the NIC provided an overview of her center's activities and issues the NIC wishes to address through the IICWG. She described the NIC's organization and structure. She addressed the NIC's mission and what it hopes to gain from the IICWG: jointly lobby funding agencies for an operational applications component to major research efforts; digital exchange of ice charts in near-real time; easy access to worldwide ice charts through a transparent interface; continued access to affordable sources of data; collaborative training programs; sharing of technology as allowed; and, influence international standards for ice chart archiving and metadata creation. She described new NIC initiatives, new data sources and products, system upgrades and their objectives, digitization of data, and NIC participation in standards bodies.
International Ice Patrol (IIP)
CDR Robert Desh of the IIP described the issues and concerns that the IIP would like the IICWG to address. As an organization with the very specific mission of warning mariners of the danger of icebergs and sea ice near the Grand Banks, the International Ice Patrol's (IIP) needs and concerns are narrowly focused. Simply, the IIP hopes to be as accurate as possible in its predictions of the Limits of All known Ice (LAKI) and effective delivery of this information to users. The IIP also wishes to leverage technology to improve Ice Patrol efficiency and effectiveness in detecting icebergs and predicting their movement. The specific issues and concerns the IIP hopes the IICWG will address are: improving and expanding delivery of the IIP products (ice charts and text ice bulletins), utilizing the cooperation and partnerships developed through the IICWG to ensure iceberg detection and tracking are included and/or furthered in all remote sensing efforts, and establishment of the IICWG as the "subject mater expert" advising the WMO, International Maritime Organization, and IHO on formatting, standards and delivery of ice data to mariners for use with ECDIS.
Canadian Ice Service
Mr Wayne Lumsden reported the CIS's recent activities, current challenges, and areas for productive IICWG collaboration. In 2000, CIS's role has expanded to include not only ice but also public marine weather services. He reported on accomplishments of the CIS's operations, field services, informatics, and remote sensing and modeling divisions. Challenges to CIS lie in recruitment and training, contingency funding, enhancing the CIS product delivery system, getting clients to accept model output, developing a long-range forecast model, improving analysis of ice decay, funding the fast ice breakup program after the prototype ends in 2002, and developing the Radarsat-2 ground segment. Opportunities for IICWG collaboration exist in the areas of digital visual ice reconnaissance, dissemination technology, iceberg modeling, iceberg calving reports, ice decay and ice strength, sensor evaluation and validation, Arctic climate change, and training.
Mr Strübing inquired about the revisions to CIS price lists and their impact on users. Mr Lumsden replied that these developments have taken place within the context of an Alternate Service Delivery exercise, which the Canadian Government is now re-examining.
Mr Haraldur Orn Olafsson of Iceland gave a presentation on his walking expedition to the North Pole. After his friend was forced to return to Reykyavik with a case of severe frostbite, Mr Olasfsson completed the trip by himself. He provided many photographs and related his experiences in crossing the sea ice on foot. Large pressure ridges impeded his progress, and open water leads in the ice were the biggest dangers. After a two-month journey, Mr Olafsson reached the North Pole on May 10, 2000.
Mr Hannu Gronvall of the Finnish Ice Service described his agency's ongoing operations, which remain much the same as those stated at IICWG-1. He summarized the Service's ongoing improvement projects. The Service is working to improve SAR classification. Information in the routine ice charts will be included in the RADARSAT SAR image classification algorithm. FIS intends to improve its ice drift model. A digital user presentation will be developed showing forecasted ice drift in map (rather than text) format. The Service is seeking to improve data and presentation for all products sent to users at sea (icebreakers and other ships). A meteorological, sea ice and ocean product and distribution system is under development. Finally, FIS intends to improve data exchange among the Finnish, German and Swedish ice services, which have many common applications.
Dr Henrik Steen Andersen of DMI provided an update on DMI's past activities in Greenland in the previous year. Issues of interest to DMI for IICWG-2 include research and development, training, usage of satellites, and future sensors. DMI is not satisfied with current low ice concentration applications, and needs better data in support of this mission. DMI hopes that IICWG coordination will lead to lower prices for data users. The ice services do have common demands in various areas, including processing and quality, continuity, sensor types, and scheduling and planning. DMI wants to share data to have access to a larger number of images. Data sharing raises certain issues, which need consideration by a smaller IICWG task group. The IICWG is an ideal forum for exchange of digital data, and for the exchange of plans and information. The group needs to identify an agreed-upon position on spatial elements and attributes. Additional areas for cooperation proposed by DMI included adaptation of WMO standards to the digital future, exchange of ideas on end user presentation of ice information, training and tutorials, collaborative research and development, and SAR imagery interpretation. Dr Andersen also recommended that the IICWG organize an ice analysis training workshop.
Mr Frode Dinessen gave a report on the Norwegian Meteorological Institute's (DNMI's) activities. The ice service is seeking to establish financial support for regular use of SAR data. As a part of this work, a demonstration project was carried out last winter, together with Tromsø Satellite Station and the Norwegian Polar Institute. The SAR data gave a more accurate estimate of the ice edge and the interior of the ice. Mr Dinessen described DNMI's efforts along with DMI to develop high latitude sea ice products as part of the EUMETSAT Ocean and Sea Ice Satellite Application Facilities (SAF). DNMI has applied to the Norwegian government for a more detailed resolution ice forecast model for the Svalbard area. SAR data will be used for the model's initialization and validation.
Currently, the main issues of concern to DNMI are summarized as follows: 1) get public funding for the purchase of SAR data on a regular basis and learn to apply these data operationally; 2) automation of ice charting services; and 3) continuing to develop and improve an ice forecasting model. Through the IICWG, DNMI hopes to benefit from other institutes and contribute to a forum where experiences are exchanged and discussed.
Mr Klaus Strübing gave a report on the past year's activities of the German Ice Service, products and services, and exchanges with neighboring countries. Mr Strübing showed his agency's web page and its hypertext links to other ice services, which should provide a seamless user interface. The German Ice Service has enlarged its suite of Internet-provided ice products, and is running an operational model including oceanographic and meteorological information along with ice extent and thickness. An issue of concern is to find ways to link ice information and model computation to real-time uses, to provide proper technical support for voyages from one region to another. Due to recent and further staff reduction, the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) has developed a target agreement with the responsible German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing for a planned reduction in staff and services. As part of this strategy, with respect to the ice service, more cross-services improvement, harmonization, and international cooperation are necessary.
Dr Gill of DMI asked whether Radarsat data (or SAR data generally) is necessary for Baltic ice charting. Mr Strübing replied that ERS SAR data are being used by the German Ice Service as a cost-saving measure, although Radarsat data may be more useful. In the future, Mr Strübing suggested a harmonized approach by ice services to commercial providers, and expressed Germany's interest in participating in such a consortium. He noted the successful collaboration among the German, Finnish, and Swedish services, which use the same software for ice charting including use of remotely sensed data.
Mr Yuri Shcherbakov of the Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) gave an overview of AARI's recent achievements. A wide variety of Arctic ice information support can be provided through the use of different products. Varied information has different formats, which have to be unified for presentation to users by different Ice Services. Mr Shcherbakov stated that the use of commercial data formats is not the best way to provide for international data exchange. He also noted that the choice of map projection for sea ice charting is very important. Mr Shcherbakov suggested the SIGRID advanced vector data format. He presented the color scheme used by the Russian ice service for better illustration of sea ice charts, as a base color palette for international sea ice charts. He also showed a digital navigation chart with various layers of information. This chart is part of Russia's work to create a National Electronic Chart Collection program in accordance with IHO/IMO International Standard S-57.
Mr Strübing asked about the variables provided by the charts, and what types of nautical information they provide. Mr Shcherbakov confirmed that various attributes were available and agreed to discuss this project in more detail with interested meeting participants.
Ms Beatriz Lorenzo provided a report on the Argentine Hydrographic Office's responsibilities and activities. She described the service's visual observations from ships, shore, airplanes (discontinued at the moment), and helicopters. These observations provide concentrations, stages of development, forms, visibility, thickness, melting, openings, icebergs, bergy bits and growlers. Ms Lorenzo described Argentina's training program. She also described Argentina's remote sensing data sources, such as NOAA, Meteor-3M, and occasional use of Radarsat. Argentina participates in the Steering Group for the GDSIDB, and the JCOMM Subgroup on Sea Ice. Ms Lorenzo emphasized Argentina's interest in closer cooperation among operational ice centers.
Mr Strübing noted that the Antarctic is now of special interest due to recent Antarctic Protocols. He noted the need for good climatological and real-time data for navigation in the area.
Presentation of IICWG-2 Guest of Honor
IICWG-2 was pleased to recognize the work of Dr Páll Bergthórsson, sea ice and climate scientist and scholar, and former director of IMO. Dr Bergthórsson is author of a book entitled "The Vineland Millenium", about the Nordic peoples' North Atlantic exploration and discovery. Dr Bergthórsson expressed his gratitude for the invitation to IICWG-2. He discussed his life's work in meteorology and sea ice analysis and its benefit to humankind. He said it was necessary for one to love his subject to make a positive contribution to humanity, and wished the group pleasure and happiness in its quest for knowledge.
Impacts of Sea Ice in Iceland
Prof Ingibjörg Jónsdóttir discussed the impacts of sea ice in Iceland from 1850 to 2000. According to Norse mythology, Hell was described as being freezing cold and foggy and far in the North far from the contemporary Christian understanding. She noted the combination of many environmental factors besides ice. She described historical and present-day sources for sea ice impacts, such as personal letters and diaries, questionnaires, newspapers and books, official letters and reports, and measurements. Dr Jónsdóttir described sea ice impact on Iceland in sectors including fisheries, agriculture, and transportation, and ways that it is measured. She closed with a discussion on potential future impacts.
Polynya Dynamics Investigation
Dr Halldór Björnsson gave a presentation exploring polynya dynamics with a high resolution dynamic-thermodynamic sea ice model. This work was initiated under the North Open Water (NOW) project, which included significant Canadian participation. Investigations led researchers to question how well polynya formation could be predicted by simple flux models. Currently, generic sea ice models do not distinguish between frazil ice and pack ice.
Dr Björnsson described the data he used and his methodology. He concluded that a clean polynya edge will emerge in the results of an ice model provided that either: the drag is different for the frazil ice, or the ice is under compression due to onshore winds. Further work will be needed to extend this basic theory to more realistic situations.
Mr Michael Manore provided a brief update on the Radarsat-2 program. He described the satellite's technical characteristics, and its ability to provide data continuity with current Radarsat-1 beam modes. The satellite's Preliminary Design Review is scheduled for December 2000, and launch is scheduled for spring 2003. Mr Manore noted that commercial pricing policies are still to be developed. Operational users are concerned about a potential gap in coverage between Radarsat-1 and 2. CIS is developing aircraft reconnaissance contingency plans for this possibility.
Mr Simon Chesworth of RSI provided a briefing on the Envisat mission and its data and pricing policies. He gave an overview of the mission's objectives and the instruments on board the satellite. He described the ASAR instrument's characteristics. ASAR is a right-looking SAR with resolution capability similar to that of Radarsat-1. Mr Chesworth described its imaging modes and viewing angles. As for data distribution, he stated that operational/commercial users will receive higher priority than research/academic users. Operational/commercial users will need to purchase Envisat data through one of two commercial consortia: EURIMAGE and SARCOM. Mr Chesworth said that Envisat data would be sold initially at ERS prices. In response to a question, he gave a rough estimate of $1200 per image.
Mr Timothy Stryker of NOAA gave an overview of the US National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). Beginning in 2008, and in cooperation with EUMETSAT, NPOESS will replace the current global NOAA and DMSP missions and incorporate new technologies demonstrated by NASA's Earth Science Enterprise. Mr Stryker provided a listing of instruments to be flown on the satellites, and a development schedule. Visible and infrared data from certain NPOESS instruments (VIIRS and CMIS) are expected to be useful for ice charting and analysis. Mr Stryker expressed NOAA's interest in facilitating IICWG access to NPOESS data. Mr Falkingham asked about the planned future NPOESS ground infrastructure, and whether it would be possible for services to receive full-resolution, global data at a Northern Hemisphere station. Mr Stryker agreed to discuss this question with the Integrated Program Office and provide additional information in advance of IICWG-3.
Action 2-1: NOAA to provide addtional information to IICWG members on NPOESS ground segment architecture and possibilities for global data reception.
IICWG Survey Results
Dr Henrik Steen Andersen provided initial results he had received from his satellite data users survey. There was clearly an interest among ice charting agencies in utilizing more satellite data on a long-term, operational basis, and in enabling regular access from future data sources. Dr Andersen recommended that a task group be established to review the issue of future access to data from government and commercial systems. The session concluded with agreement among participants to have a more in-depth discussion on requirements, and to develop a common centers' approach to commercial data purchases. A task group was thus formed consisting of Mr Grimes, Mr Manore, CDR Willis, Ms Bertoia, Mr Strübing, Dr Andersen, and Dr Jonsdottir. The group will meet in coming months to address a variety of topics, including: review of the different business models of commercial providers; consideration of various regional downlink options; associated costs, profitablity and cost recovery issues; data and service sharing options; government funding and procurement schedules; and, contract options among various sovereign national authorities.
Proposed Color Codes for Ice Characterization
In response to Action 1-6, Mr Falkingham provided the IICWG information on proposed Canadian color codes, to serve as the basis for an international standard. The Canadian emphasis was on multi-year ice. Thin ice (<15 cm) was not addressed. Mr Falkingham noted that the IICWG could not support the development of one single, detailed code to satisfy the needs of all users. Each user would need to tailor a basic product to meet his/her specific needs (e.g., climatology, fishing, icebreaking). Meeting participants agreed to review the Canadian proposal and present an IICWG recommendation to the June 2001 JCOMM session.
Advances in SIGRID-Based Formats: Toward a New Archive Standard
Ms Florence Fetterer described the goal of having all ice services regularly submit data in a standard format to the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (GDSIDB). Ms Fetterer described the current Sea Ice GRID (SIGRID) archive format characteristics, which have significant disadvantages in terms of output characteristics, accuracy/resolution, and the need for researchers to reformat the data. In proposing a new archive standard, Ms Fetterer noted the need for consideration of how ice centers currently create and exchange data. The format proposed by Ms Fetterer was a GIS-based vector format. After further discussion, there was general consensus on the following approach: 1) Ice centers which use GIS software for ice chart production will submit files to the GDSIDB in the ESRI Shapefile format, with the metadata file; 2) ice attributes will be attached, with individual polygons encoded using SIGRID; 3) a metadata file will be used to describe the content of the shapefile; and 4) additional attributes will be decided by a working group.
The IICWG expressed general support for this proposal, but all ice centers were not convinced that Shapefile format was the best format and there were some reservations based on re-projection requirements. Further data set technical requirements need to be refined, especially in terms of projection, attributes and metadata. A task group of IICWG members will be formed to address this topic. Mr Strübing also agreed to facilitate BSIM participation. Following the completion of the task group's work, the IICWG will issue a recommendation through the GDSIDB for an additional bank archive format. This recommendation would then be presented to the Chairman of the JCOMM Subgroup on Sea Ice.
Action 2-2: IICWG to recommend to JCOMM adoption of a new ice chart archive format. Shapefiles were proposed at the meeting as the archive format for GDSIDB. Directors of the ice centers need to respond by 15 Jan 2001 if they agree to shapefiles as the archive format. If agreed, then this recommendation will be presented to JCOMM via the GDSIDB, to be held in Buenos Aires in October 2002. (F. Fetterer, Ice center directors)
Action 2-3: IICWG co-chairs to inform ESRI of problems with projection software.
Dr Lawson Brigham highlighted recent press articles about the rise in global temperatures and the opening of new Arctic shipping lanes. Certain errors in these articles could lead to popular misconceptions about Arctic climate issues. The recent spate of articles points to a growing popular awareness of the global climate change debate. Dr Brigham presented information on recent Arctic voyages, and an Arctic sea ice data base for the 20th century (Walsh and Chapman). He also showed many viewgraphs pertaining to sea ice extent, concentration, and thickness. The 1990s have witnessed the lowest ice extents in recorded history. There has been a tremendous reduction in sea ice in the center of the Arctic Ocean from the 1950s until today. These changes are significantly impacting access to the Canadian and the Russian Arctic.
The Link to the Operational Community: Practical Implications of Changing Ice Cover
Mr John Falkingham showed an Arctic research study which forecasts a completely-melted Arctic ocean in the summer months by 2050. Global climate warming is expected to occur most rapidly and most extremely in the Arctic regions. Currently the Hudson Bay region is experiencing 2-3 times the amount of grain shipments from the town of Churchill than in the previous decade. However, great variability in ice cover is likely to continue, and even light ice years will result in shipping incidents. Canada is particularly interested in future Arctic climate changes, because they may allow many new resources to be exploited in the Canadian Arctic. These changes will result in more shipping, requiring more icebreaker support and more detailed ice charting and analysis services. They will also require closer international coordination among the Northern Hemisphere ice services.
Other participants provided their data and comments, and the IICWG agreed that a longer-term climatological analysis would be useful for further consideration. As for operational aspects of climate change, the CIS is advocating that Canadian Coast Guard resources be adequately maintained in the future, to address the possible growing need for icebeaking services. It was agreed that this topic would receive further consideration by the Standing Committee on Applied Science and Research.
Development of a Computer-Based Training Tool: Ice Tutor
Mr Dean Flett discussed the CIS needs for training, and the justification for a Computer Based Training (CBT) tool. He provided an overview of Ice Tutor 1.0, which is currently being used at CIS. Until recently, CIS has had no specialized training program for new Ice Analysts/Ice Forecasters. This poses a problem when staff members are hired. Instructor-led training is expensive and has to be duplicated for each new intake. Because of this, CIS implemented a CBT program.
In 1999, two modules were designed, developed and implemented: Visual Ice Recognition and Sea Ice Interpretation (Radarsat). This year CIS is in collaboration on an NIC/NAVICE funded initiative to complete three additional modules: Ice Physics; expansion of the original Sea Ice Interpretation module to include additional sensors (OLS, AVHRR, and SSM/I); and Geography recognition and identification.
NIC Training Efforts
LCDR Eric Miller described the NIC's training efforts. Due to the high staff turnover of military personnel, training is a continuous challenge. The NIC has a varied mission for different products and services (e.g. mapping, tactical support, climatology, GIS development, etc.). Training is overlaid on existing work assignments, and takes much time. The NIC is attempting to reduce the training time for qualification as ice analyst to four months from the current twelve month training period. Documentation of training and knowledge is also an important challenge. LCDR Miller described the NIC's current training practices, and the Center's new Ice Tutor CBT program in which the NIC/NAVIC has funded an iniaitive to develop three additional modules for the CBT. CIS is collaborating with NIC and providing in kind support (personnel and reference material). The CBT modules will satisfy job qualification requirements, and allow mentors to focus more on teaching ice center practices.
DMI Training Activites
Mr Keld Hansen presented a report on ice and image analysis training at DMI. Recently, image analysis training for DMI staff was initiated to run in parallel with operational ice mapping. Through two ice seasons, while using Radarsat, the group has obtained significant operational experience. Mr Hansen described DMI's training schedule for new analysts, and its staff's recent experience with the Ice Tutor CBT program. This is the first time an intensive, formal ice analyst training program has been initiated at the Danish Meteorological Institute. Mr Hansen recommended that in the future, operational ice services join forces, and prepare a satellite data-based ice analysis training program.
In subsequent discussions, a variety of satellite-based and in-situ initiatives were discussed. These initiatives included sharing CBT modules, web-based training and information exchange, analyst exchange, and the scheduling of a joint training conference. A task group devoted to these initiatives was formed, to include LCDR Miller, Mr Hansen, and Mr Flett.
The CEOS Disaster/Hazards Initiative
On behalf of Ms Helen Wood of NOAA, CDR Willis provided an overview of the Ice Hazard Team Report of the Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS) Disaster Management Support Project (DMSP) of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS). This purpose of this report is to identify requirements and review the current and projected utility of Earth Observation space technology applied to the detection, mapping and management of ice hazards. CDR Willis showed a sample initial sea ice hazard requirements table.
Mr Manore noted that the table addresses IICWG-1's intentions to influence flight agencies' decisions to better meet ice centers' operational requirements. The IICWG commended the work of the Ice Hazards DMSG and its members expressed interest in enhanced collaboration.
ACTION 2-4: For each IICWG delegation head to review the initial Ice Hazards Requirements document and provide comments to NIC, CDR Willis, by the end of December 2000. Each IICWG delegation head to also consider participation in the CEOS DMSG Ice Hazards Support Group.
A Frazil/Pancake Sea Ice Model
Dr Max Coon and Dr Leif Toudal Pedersen reported on their recent work to develop a frazil/pancake sea ice model suitable for use by the NIC in the marginal ice zone. The approach is to transition the research being done in the US and Europe on Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ) ice into a tool for the NIC. Dr Coon discussed the MIZ ice characteristics, the model, and the data used. Messrs Coon and Toudal used daily SSM/I and winds data to develop a heavily parameterized model to predict frazil/pancake sea ice formation and melting in different regions. Dr Coon described the results of model testing in the Greenland Sea. The team wishes to expand the modeling tool to other data sources (e.g. scatterometry, SAR). Dr Coon described the schedule for initial delivery, fine tuning, and final delivery.
EUMETSAT SAF Model and Sea Ice
Dr Lars-Anders Breivik discussed the EUMETSAT-organized project, as part of the new EUMETSAT Polar System, and the agency partners supporting it. Main contributions for sea ice come from the DNMI and DMI. A high-latitude center will be jointly organized. The METOP launch is currently scheduled for 2003, although considerable delays are likely. DNMI and DMI plan to have a demonstration phase, to deliver pre-operational sea ice products, by April 2001. These products will be used as input to European NWP and ocean models, and background information for the national ice centers. Products will be distributed via the GTS in a WMO-defined grid format. The product will be a multi-sensor one using visible, microwave, and scatterometry data. A similar Southern Hemisphere grid is also envisioned.
Iceberg Detection in Radarsat Imagery Using Statistical Distribution
Dr Rashpal Gill described DMI's efforts to detect sea ice in Radarsat imagery using statistical distributions. The detection of low concentration (£ 3/10) of sea ice in Radarsat imagery poses a major challenge to the ice analysts, especially around the southern most tip of Greenland where the individual ice floes (< 20 m - 30 m in size) are well below the resolution of both ScanSAR Wide and Narrow images. Regional extreme weather conditions and surface ice melting further complicate efforts. To provide useful products to the ice analysts, a number of parameters based on the first and second order statistics and probability distributions have been evaluated at DMI during the last 6 -7 years. Dr Gill described which probability distributions and algorithms have proven most useful, and he presented initial algorithm results.
(see Actions List at Appendix 3)
(The Hon Dr Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of Iceland)
President Grimsson welcomed the IICWG participants and spoke of the meeting's importance to Iceland. Since the end of the Cold War, and due to the growing international awareness of climate change, the North has become an area of growing importance for economic, political, scientific, and technological cooperation. New, sovereign Baltic states are playing a more important role in region. New regional organizations have been established, such as the Arctic Council, the Barents Council, and the Baltic Council. Europe, the United States, Russia, and Canada are aware of new opportunities in the North, which has become an effective bridge between East and West.
Iceland is supporting the many positive developments that are taking place to integrate world powers and regional powers in the North. One particularly promising area is in science and technological cooperation, to address the numerous environmental challenges faced by the region. President Grimsson described Iceland's initiative to establish an international Northern Research Forum and a new Arctic University in Iceland, which will serve as focal points for expanded collaboration. In closing, President Grimsson bid the group a successful meeting, and expressed his hope that IICWG participants would take advantage of the new groups and organizations concerned with the North.
(Facilitators: John Falkingham, Klaus Strübing)
Mr Falkingham reported on the June 2000 ECDIS Workshop that recently met in St Johns, Newfoundland. Thirty-six government and industry representatives participated in the workshop. Conference participants agreed that they should not confine themselves to ECDIS, but should consider all forms of Electronic Chart Systems (ECSs). ECS manufacturers are keen to incorporate ice information. However, the lack of ECDIS regulations hinders implementation and use in commercial shipping. Meanwhile, manufacturers will not plan to wait for formal approvals and regulations. The IHO S-57 standard is currently frozen and may not accept changes in the near future. One option was to ask IHO to adopt a new standard dealing specifically with ice information. It was also noted that IHO is not the only standards organization, and that International Maritime Organization review and approval is very important.(The way IMO has adopted the resolution for ECDIS, IHO could change the chart format and IMO would not have to get involved.) The other organization that will be involved is the International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) since they are responsible for the testing requirements and this will fall under display requirements. Workshop participants agreed that display of ice information on electronic charts must be uncluttered, intuitive, and simple. In closing, the workshop participants agreed to an ECS pilot project in the Gulf of St Lawrence in the winter of 2000. IICWG members expressed interest in this project and asked Canada and Russia to report on its outcome.
ACTION 2-5: Canada and Russia to support the proposed ECDIS pilot project and CIS to report to the IICWG on its status. If pilot project proceeds, then IICWG co-chairs should write to IHO/WMO on the status of the IICWG efforts.
(Facilitator, Cheryl Bertoia)
IICWG Participants addressed the merits and drawbacks to expanding the group's focus to the Southern Hemisphere, and choosing a Southern Hemisphere meeting site. While participants noted the value in compatible standards and protocols between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, many Northern regional services also noted the difficulty in obtaining funding and justification for expanding the group's current mandate beyond the North. It was also noted that much project development work in the Northern Hemisphere was still necessary, and it may be unwise to expand the group's focus at this time. It was agreed that Southern Hemisphere services would always be welcome as observers at upcoming IICWGs. A decision on a Southern Hemisphere meeting venue was deferred for future consideration. The IICWG chairs agreed to write a letter on this topic to Argentina, which had offered to host the next meeting.
Action 2-6: IICWG chairs to send a thank you letter to the Argentinean Ice Service explaining short-term rationale for the IICWG's initial Northern Hemisphere focus and supporting a longer-term strategy to address Southern Hemisphere interest and participation.
CDR Willis asked for participants' views on the meeting and the planned agenda for IICWG-3. Participants found the meeting quite valuable, but replied that more time should be devoted to the work of the standing committees. Additionally, all agreed that annual updates should be provided only as written handouts, with center presentations focused solely on new interests and issues for consideration by the entire group.
DNMI offered to host IICWG-3 in Tromsø, Norway. It was tentatively agreed to hold the meeting during the week November 12th, 2001, subject to final confirmation by national points of contact.
On behalf of the entire group, CDR Willis thanked the members of the Organizing Committee for their tireless service, excellent meeting support and warm hospitality, with particular recognition for Dr Jakobsson, Ms Armannsdottir, and Dr Jonsdottir. Dr Björnsson was also recognized for his outstanding on-site technical support. Ms Bertoia was also recognized for her outstanding efforts.
Dr Magnus Johnson closed the meeting and expressed his thanks to the organizing committee, to the group for its participation, and for the growing cooperation among IICWG members. He expressed Iceland's continued interest in new sources of and applications for remote sensing data.