International Ice Charting Working Group

IICWG Business

IICWG Efforts in Antarctic Waters

IICWG Letter to JCOMM Expert Team on Marine Safety Services (Oct. 2013)

WMO Sea Ice Information Services in the World

WMO's Sea Ice Information Services in the World (Aug. 2017)

Satellite Observations for Ice Monitoring

The IICWG works actively with the satellite community to ensure a continuing supply of observations for ice monitoring. Interaction with the community is a regular feature of the IICWG meetings and continues throughout the year. The IICWG has commissioned one report outlining requirements for ice monitoring, contributed to several others and made regular representations to the space agencies and satellite operators.

EC-PHORS

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Polar and High Mountain Observations, Research, and Services activities promote and coordinate relevant programmes that are carried out in the Antarctic and Arctic regions by nations and by groups of nations. It interfaces with all WMO programmes, including the World Weather Watch and other related programmes throughout the world, meeting global needs and requirements for meteorological observations, research, and services in the polar regions. The activities are carried out under the auspices of the Executive Council Panel of Experts on Polar and High Mountain Observations, Research, and Services (EC-PHORS).

EC-PORS Update July 2011 (Aug. 2011)
Update on Key Outcomes and Initiatives of the WMO Polar Activities (Apr. 2011)

To foster cooperation with EC-PORS, the IICWG has submitted reports on its activities to each of the EC-PORS meetings:

Ice Logistics Portal

The Ice Logistics Portal was initiated as an IPY Project to provide a single website where users could get ice charts from all of the ice charting services in a convenient manner. The portal is located at http://www.bsis-ice.de/IcePortal/.

Several documents have been considered by the IICWG concerning the future of the portal:

IICWG Multi-Lateral MOUs

Several IICWG members have signed Memoranda of Agreement to formalize their cooperative working relationships:

Color Standard and Shapefile SIGRID-3 Format

Jun. 2004: The Color Standard and SIGRID-3 formats are now official World Meteorological Organization (WMO) standards, and may be referenced as:

SIGRID-3: A Vector Archive Format for Sea Ice Charts. JCOMM Technical Report Series No. 23, 2004, WMO/TD-No. 1214.

Ice Chart Colour Code Standard. JCOMM Technical Report Series No. 24, 2004, WMO/TD-No. 1215.

These documents are available from the World Meteorological Organization - JCOMM Technical Report Series Web site, or contact John Falkingham for the Ice Chart Colour Code Standard and Florence Fetterer for the SIGRID-3 Standard.

Ice in Electronic Navigation Charts

2012: Following work by the IICWG, the JCOMM Expert Team on Sea Ice (ETSI) approved a new revision to the Ice Objects Catalogue Version 5.0 at its meeting in March 2010. This revision implements a number of recommendations to harmonize the WMO Sea Ice Nomenclature, the SIGRID-3 code, and the ENC Ice Objects. Also, a number of new objects were added to support the work of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) and Transas. In February 2012, an updated draft of the Ice Objects Catalogue, Version 5.1, was released which harmonizes some terms with the WMO Sea Ice Nomenclature and the existing national practices draft. It is anticipated that version 5.1 will be formally approved later in 2012.

IICWG, together with ETSI, has been collaborating with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) to migrate the Ice Objects from S-57 to the new S-100 family of Electronic Chart Display & Information System (ECDIS) standards. Features, attributes, and enumerations from the Ice Objects Catalogue Version 5.0 have been encoded in the prototype IHO S-100 database as "Supplemental Geographic Information". Work remains to be done on the portrayal of ice features.

For a historical overview of ice information in electronic navigation charts see the presentation "Ice Information for Electronic Navigation Systems".

NIC Ice Training

The U.S. National Ice Center (NIC) has kindly contributed its Ice Analyst Workbook for reference by IICWG participants. While some sections of the Workbook are specific to NIC, many sections are generic and will be useful for ice analyst training anywhere.

National Ice Center: Ice Analyst Workbook (posted Nov. 2011):

Marine Training Center Engagement

Report on Marine Training Center Engagement (Oct. 2020)

Ice Forecasting Models

An Inventory and Description of Ice Forecasting Models at Ice Centers: This document contains information on models at several national ice centers. (Updated Oct. 2011)

Ice Chart Data Production Methods and Attributes

This information was updated in August, 2005, by F. Fetterer, using information gathered at the IICWG V meeting, Hamburg, Germany, and in October 2005.


Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, Russia

Analysis chart frequency: Weekly, bi-weekly, and daily regional Arctic charts. Antarctic charts are available at various frequencies while supporting the AARI R/V.

Analysis or GIS system used: ERDAS, ESRI ARCInfo.

File format(s): ArcInfo, ARCView, Shapefile, SIGRID, GIF, national vector CONTOUR-2


Argentine Navy Hydrographic Service

No information at this time


Canadian Ice Service (CIS)

Analysis chart frequency: CIS produces three types of charts.

  • Daily analysis ice charts at scale of 1:2M are produced for southern regions in the winter and northern regions in the summer to support shipping activities, for each satellite image.
  • Image analysis ice charts are produced for the same regions and time of year as daily ice charts.
  • Weekly regional ice charts at scale of 1:4M are produced covering all Canadian ice-encumbered waters.

Analysis or GIS system used: All charts are produced with a custom ISIS system based on ArcInfo for charts and Imagine for imagery.

File format(s): All charts are produced in .E00, pdf and GIF format; and are available freely on the CIS website


China, State Oceanic Administration

No information at this time


Danish Meteorological Institute

Analysis chart frequency: Weekly chart covers all Greenland waters. Navigational charts are produced depending on season and users requirements.

Analysis or GIS system used: Analysis: ERDAS Imagine

Chart production: ESRI ArcView (Polygons with SIGRID attributes)

File format(s): ESRI coverage format files


Finnish Ice Service

Analysis chart frequency: Daily during the Baltic Sea ice season (October-May). SST twice a week. On Mondays simplified ice and SST charts are available from this website.

Analysis or GIS system used: Icemap

File format(s): Charts are saved in *.postscript format. Charts sent to icebreakers, ships, and other platforms are in *.ice, *.pdf, or *.tif format


Germany, Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH), Ice Service

Analysis chart frequency: Baltic: 2 times a week; Western Baltic - North Sea: 3 times a week

Analysis or GIS system used: SQL database. Point observations since 1940. Grid of Western Baltic since 1963.

File format(s): Adobe PDF files


Icelandic Meteorological Office

Analysis chart frequency: Variable (charts from Icelandic Coast Guard)


Japan Meteorological Agency

Analysis chart frequency: Daily bulletin (Charts every ~5 days)


Norwegian Meteorological Institute

Analysis chart frequency: Every weekday: covering eastern Greenland to east Barents Sea.
~1 a week: High resolution chart covering Svalbard. Every weekday: SST analysis.

Analysis or GIS system used: PCI,IDL, Easi/Pace, ESRI ArcView

File format(s): Encapsulated PostScript (eps) format chart, TIFF format chart, and PDF


Sweden (SMHI)

Analysis chart frequency: Daily ice charts for the period (approx) 25 Nov - 25 May, otherwise SST charts twice a week.

Analysis or GIS system used: Icemap software (developed by VTT, Finland); Joint system BSH-FIMR-SMHI

File format: TIFF, Postscript, Icemap GRID


Poland (IMGW)

Analysis chart frequency: Polish coast and Baltic Sea 2-3 times a week


U.S. National Ice Center: Analysis Products (updated Oct 2005 per P. Seymour)

USNIC analysis products are organized by output format below.

Analysis chart frequency (for outputs in JPEG Graphic Format and .e00 ESRI Format)

  1. Twice per month ice analysis charts of the Arctic and Antarctic. The Arctic analysis is done on the weeks during which the 1st and the 15th of the month fall. If there are two weeks between the 1st and 15th, then the Arctic analysis will be completed three times during that month. Each analysis is produced as both a black and white and color version. The black and white version depicts ice conditions using the WMO egg code. The color version is based on total concentration and also depicts WMO code eggs. The JPEG charts can encompass a whole sea (e.g.. Beaufort Sea) or part of a sea (e.g. North Greenland). The .e00 coverage is based on nominal geographic boundaries of seas. The coverages that correspond to the individual JPEG charts (e.g. Bering West, Bering East and Kamchatka) are joined together into a complete sea (e.g. Bering Sea). An ASCII text metadata file describing the imagery used in the analyses is included for the East Arctic and the West Arctic.
  2. Each week (beginning Summer 2001) a Northern Hemisphere .e00 Analysis or Southern Hemisphere .e00 analysis will be placed on the WWW site.
  3. The Alaskan regional analysis (Beaufort, Chukchi and Bering Seas, Cook Inlet and the High Arctic West 1 and 2 areas) is completed at least once a week all year. The Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas and the Cook Inlet are analyzed twice per week, on Tuesdays and Fridays when there is an ice edge present. The Tuesday chart which falls on the 1st and 15th of the month will be part of the hemispheric coverage for that week.
  4. Once per week ice analysis of the Great Lakes. This is produced on Thursdays. The NIC hosts the Great Lakes .gif chart and the .e00 coverage produced by the Canadian Ice Service on Mondays.
  5. Ice analyses of the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay region are produced at least weekly when there is ice present.
  6. Ice analyses of the Ross Sea are produced at least every other week but are done weekly during the austral summer navigation season."

 

Analysis chart frequency (for outputs in SHAPE Format): Each week (beginning Summer 2001) a Northern Hemisphere Analysis or a Southern Hemispheric Analysis in Shapefile (SIGRID 3 Archive) format will be placed on the WWW site by the end of the week

Analysis chart frequency (for outputs in ASCII Text Messages): Daily ice edges of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres are produced in ASCII format.

Analysis chart frequency (for outputs in Microsoft Word Format)

Weekly Iceberg List. This consists of the iceberg name, date of last sighting, latitude and longitude of last sighting, current size and the imagery source type used for the last sighting. This list encompasses the icebergs currently being tracked.

Analysis chart frequency (for outputs in Microsoft Excel Format)

Spreadsheet of all icebergs tracked by the National Ice Center. The spreadsheets are divided by the quadrant of the Southern hemisphere where the iceberg originated and then by individual iceberg.


U.S. National Ice Center: Forecast Products

USNIC forecast products are organized by output format below.

Analysis chart frequency (for outputs in GIF Format):  

  1. 30 Day Forecasts for the Arctic. Issued Monthly on or about the 1st of the month and valid the 1st of the following month.
  2. 30 Day Forecasts for the North American Arctic area is issued for the period July through December unless the ice cover does not require the forecasts. These forecasts are comprised of jpeg format graphics and a text section. They are produced as North American Ice Service products jointly by the NIC and the CIS.
  3. 30 Day Forecasts for the Great Lakes are issued near the 1st of December through March.
  4. A Long Range Outlook for the Great Lakes is issued near the 1st of December."

Analysis chart frequency (for outputs in Microsoft Word Format):  

  1. Seasonal Outlooks for the East and West Arctic. Issued during the last week in May as a North American Ice Service product. Produced jointly by the CIS and the NIC.
  2. Seasonal Outlook for the Ross Sea and McMurdo Sound. Issued in late October in support of the re-supply of McMurdo station.

Ice Service Climatological Products

The information below gives a quick overview of products created by various Ice Services that may be useful in evaluating climatological trends in sea ice cover. Contact the Ice Services directly for more information.


Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute

Products produced: Numerous, though not always available as digital databases. For example, probability of ice formation for Black, Caspian, and Azov Seas.

Mean (and many other statistics) total concentration by decade, 1950-1990, on AARI GDSIDB Web page.

Contributions to the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (Note - may not include holdings at AARI): 1950-1993 in SIGRID (at AARI), 1953-1990 in EASE-Grid (at NSIDC or AARI), Chart every 10 days


Argentine Navy Hydrographic Service

Products produced: Database of point observations back to the1970s or earlier

Contributions to the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (Note - may not include holdings at AARI): 1998-2000, point observations in NIC-code in .db format (like the attribute table for a shape file?). Ongoing contributions planned.


Australia (ASPeCt Project)

Contributions to the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (Note - may not include holdings at AARI): Not now, but data for 1980-1997 planned. In ASPeCt database format.


Canadian Ice Service

Products produced: Climatic Ice Atlases showing 30-year median of ice concentration (1968-1998) for Hudson Bay, East Arctic, West Arctic and Canadian east coast in GIF format. Other statistical products have been produced for some regions and are not available on our website yet; they include:

  • Climate charts products
    • 30 year median of predominant ice type (1971-2000)
    • 30 year frequency of presence of sea ice (1971-2000)
    • 30 year frequency of presence of old ice (1971-2000)
    • same types as above but for 10 year periods
    • dates of freeze-up and break-up
    • prototype anomaly charts showing departures from normal conditions for concentration and ice type; also used for interdecadal comparisons
  • Bar graphs and trends
    • weekly extents and coverages (weekly coverage can be used as chart severity index)
    • total accumulated coverages for a season (used to compare severity of ice seasons from 1968 to 2000); a variant is total accumulated old ice
    • length of seasons for all years (start of season defined as when ice reaches a threshold value)
    • minimum and maximum ice coverages
  • Several publications on sea ice climatology in Canadian waters have been produced; our latest publication is Sea Ice Climatic Atlas - East Coast of Canada - 1971-2000.

Contributions to the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (Note - may not include holdings at AARI): 1968-1998 in SIGRID; Some earlier data in SIGRID. 1968-1998 in ESRI .e00 format files as well, with SIGRID attributes (15' resolution). Ongoing contributions planned.


China, State Oceanic Administration

Products produced: Maximum annual extent for the Bohai Sea, 1952-present.

Contributions to the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (Note - may not include holdings at AARI): (To be submitted before 2001 mtg) Total and partial concentrations, stages of development on 0.1 degree grid, 1968 to present.


Danish Meteorological Institute

Products produced: Sample chart from 1990 in original (?) gridded format, available from AARI.

Contributions to the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (Note - may not include holdings at AARI): Ongoing contributions (starting with 1999) planned.


Finland Institute of Marine Research, Finnish Ice Service

Products produced: Many climatologies, atlases, and statistics on Baltic sea ice dating back to 1719 are available from the Baltic Sea Now site. One example: image showing classification of maximum extent of ice in Baltic Sea 1720-1995, characterized as extremely mild to extremely severe. Digital ice charts from 1994 on. On-line narrative summary characterizing winter conditions, with graphic of maximum ice extent (Hard copies back to 1915)

Baltic sea ice meeting country - charts contributed as a group.

Contributions to the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (Note - may not include holdings at AARI): SIGRID format (twice a week) 1960-1986. Postscript format charts 1994 on. EASE-Grid available from AARI. Ongoing contributions planned.


Germany, Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH), Ice Service

Products produced: On-line narrative summary of ice winter on German coast and in Baltic Sea area (from 98/99) with images of maximum extent charts.

Ice observations at the German coast between Ems and Oder since 1955.

Contributions to the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (Note - may not include holdings at AARI): Baltic sea ice meeting country - charts contributed as a group. (See Finland entry for more information).


Icelandic Meteorological Office

Contributions to the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (Note - may not include holdings at AARI): Not now, but would like to per T. Jakobsson, 10/99


Japan Meteorological Agency

Contributions to the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (Note - may not include holdings at AARI): SIGRID format charts 1971-1993. SIGRID-2 format charts 1994-1999 (Every 5 days). EASE-Grid available from AARI.


Norwegian Meteorological Institute

Products produced: Monthly charts of the ice edge. The charts are based on weekly ice edge data and indicate max, mean, and min ice extent for a month.

Contributions to the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (Note - may not include holdings at AARI): Plan to contribute SIGRID-3 format charts.


Sweden (SMHI)

Products produced: Ice statistics for fairway sections from 1870. Ice atlas for entire Baltic covering period 1960-1979 (joint SMHI-FIMR), also available in digital format (BASIS and SIGRID). Icemap GRID for the entire Baltic (twice a week) available from Feb 1998.

Baltic sea ice meeting country - charts contributed as a group.

Planned contributions: Delivery of Icemap GRID data period 1998-1999 to AARI for conversion into SIGRID format (Oct 2000). Delivery of Icemap GRID data remaining period 1980-1997 (autumn 2002).


Poland (IMGW)

Products produced:Summary of ice winter on Polish coast (from 1984/85) with maximum extent charts.

Data Bank of daily ice and meteorological observations along the Polish coast since 1955, seasonal data on winter ice conditions from 1896/97Baltic Sea Ice Meeting

Contributions to the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (Note - may not include holdings at AARI): Baltic Sea Ice Meeting


U.S. National Ice Center

Products produced: Average coverage and extent in sq. kilometers, by week of the year, for 1972-1994, 1998, and 1999, for regions of Arctic, and Antarctic.

Archive of all chart products and climatology in ArcInfo, SIGRID, and EASE-Grid formats on the Environmental Working Group Joint U.S.-Russian Arctic Sea Ice Atlas (G01962)

Contributions to the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (Note - may not include holdings at AARI): 1972-1994 in SIGRID, EASE-Grid on EWG CD-ROM Atlas. Ongoing contributions planned, format TBD. Current data are available as ESRI e00 and gif files.


Interesting History

April 1, 2010 commemorates the 50 year anniversary of the first television image of Earth from space taken with the TIROS-1 weather satellite on April 1, 1960. Read the article and see the image: 50th Anniversary of First Image from TIROS-1.