IICWG-I Minutes

5-7 October 1999, Copenhagen, Denmark

Opening Remarks

The first meeting of the International Ice Charting Working Group (IICWG) was begun with a welcome from Lars Prahm, Director of the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI). He said that with 40 participants from 10 countries, the meeting promised to be very productive. He noted that this first meeting was made possible by collaboration among the US, Canadian, and Danish services and sponsorship of the U.S. Office of Naval Research/Europe, and that DMI was pleased to host.

Dr Prahm described Denmark's rich history in sea ice charting and monitoring, dating back to the Kalmar Union with Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands under the Kingdom of Denmark. Sea ice data collection began at DMI in 1899. Denmark helps to fund the International Ice Patrol. Following the sinking of the Danish ship Hans Hedtoft in 1959 off the coast of Greenland, DMI began aircraft reconnaissance efforts. Dr Prahm recognized Dr Hans Valeur for his service at DMI since this date. Dr Prahm said that satellite-derived maps are now a significant tools for DMI's sea ice service. He noted the value of NOAA and Radarsat data, and said that a major tool in the future will be data from radar satellites. Dr Prahm also said that data from the ice services would provide important tools for sea ice climatology and research. In closing, he thanked the group for its attendance and said this meeting would provide a good start for fruitful collaboration.

Keld Hansen of DMI introduced himself and Ms Jette Miller. He provided the group with meeting and logistics information. Ms Helen Wood of NOAA gave opening remarks on behalf of the co-chairs. She said she was honored to be one of the meeting chairs, along with David Grimes and Erik Boedtker, and that she looked forward to hearing results of meeting. She expressed appreciation for the hard work that went into the planning for this meeting, and in particular recognized the leadership of Mr Hansen, Ms Miller, and Cheryl Bertoia of the US National Ice Center. One of the main goals of the meeting, she said, was to share experiences, since such meeting opportunities always provide good educational opportunities. She stressed the importance and need of this group, to share approaches and knowledge among operational National Ice Services with a special role to save lives and property of their citizens. Much of the group's future work would be addressed in the standing committees beginning in the afternoon. Ms Wood noted the importance of other bilateral and multilateral fora, most importantly those under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). She stressed that this meeting was not intended to conflict with or duplicate existing activities. She expressed the wish that this International Ice Charting Working Group would work well together and frequently, with the schedule to be determined by the meeting participants.

Eric Bodtker, Director of the Observation Department at the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), also welcomed the group. Mr Bodtker noted DMI's long tradition of ice observations and Arctic research and described his agency's ongoing mission. According to DMI's mission statement, observations were required to have technological and meteorological quality, observations must be adjusted properly, and the agency's work must be undertaken in a cost-effective, efficient way. This meeting would help DMI in carrying out its mission.

Meeting participants then introduced themselves with a brief description of their work. A participants list is provides as Attachment [x].

Current Ice Working Groups

Following the introductions, Mr Klaus Strubing, Germany's Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency and coordinator of the Baltic Sea Ice Working Group (BSIWG), presented a report on the group's organization and activities. He showed a Baltic Sea ice thickness chart and described general ice conditions in the region from year to year. The Baltic Sea region had long been a very busy navigation area, and measurements of the region date back to 1795. The BSIWG has met twenty times since 1954 to discuss common problems, and ten countries now meet annually. He concluded with a history of the group's activity which included highlights of each meeting.

Vasily Smolyanitsky of Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) provided an introductory report on the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Sub Group on Sea Ice, which addresses global scale sea ice issues. The Sub Group advises the WMO on sea ice exchange issues, compiles sea ice glossaries and produces publications on sea ice services. The SIGRID-1 and -2 data formats were finalized by the subgroup. He mentioned WMO publication number 574 on sea ice services, which was published in 1985, and provided information on 20 ice services throughout the world. He also noted the group's management of the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (GSIDB) project, which contains digitized historical sea ice charts in the SIGRID format from 1950 to 1990. Mr Smolyanitsky showed sea ice maps of the Arctic and Baltic regions, describing trends in ice extent.

Timothy Stryker of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provided a briefing on the history and accomplishments of the Joint Ice Working Group (JIWG) between the United States and Canada. The first JIWG was organized in 1986, after Canada's Atmospheric Environment Service (AES) and NOAA agreed to increase cross-border cooperation in ice monitoring activities. The JIWG provides non-binding recommendations to senior management on a variety of ice matters. Since its inception, the quality and quantity of US-Canada collaboration have grown tremendously. Both sides have found ways to make it easier to exchange data products, provide backup support, and assure continuity of critical services. Today, through informal, effective mechanisms established through the JIWG, Canadian and US ice services are increasing interoperability, coverage, forecast accuracy, and even providing mutual backup support. NOAA and AES expect the JIWG to provide many more opportunities for cooperation in the future.

Sea Ice Observation, Data Sources, and Analysis Techniques

CDR Gary Mineart provided an overview of the US National Ice Center (NIC), which is tri-agency organization supported by the US Navy, NOAA, and the US Coast Guard (USCG). NIC has a global focus for weekly sea ice charting on a medium- to high-resolution basis. High resolution contingency capabilities may be required anywhere in the world. CDR Mineart described the NIC's organization and structure, and the new science and research work being funded by external organizations. He provided a customer overview, and the various data sources utilized by the NIC. In recent years the NIC has shifted away from visual reconnaissance to remotely-sensed data: radar, visible, and infrared imagery. This imagery (particularly SAR) has revolutionized the NIC's product suite and provide much detail to customers. On average, the NIC uses 5 gigabytes of data per day of data. In the near future, digital GIS products will be the primary products delivered to NIC's customers. CDR Mineart also noted the NIC's support of the International Arctic Buoy Program (IABP) and the Arctic sea ice climatology project under the Environmental Working Group of the US-Russian Commission on Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

Dr Rashpal Gill of DMI asked about the availability of Operational Line Scan (OLS) data from the US Department of Defense's Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP). CDR Mineart said that for external, non-military users, OLS data is available after a 72-hour delay. He agreed to investigate the feasibility of making these data available on a bilateral basis to interested agencies.

Action 1-1: NIC to investigate the feasibility of making DMSP/OLS data available on a bilateral basis to interested agencies for their use in ice charting and forecasting.

CDR Steve Sielbeck, USCG, gave a presentation on the USCG-managed International Ice Patrol (IIP). The IIP is responsible for the North Atlantic Ice Patrol (NAIP), which was codified by the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention under auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Currently, 17 countries fund the NAIP, with the USCG/IIP providing day-to-day management and operations. The IIP's mission is to promote safe navigation in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean when the danger of iceberg collision exists. Its primary customer is the merchant mariner, whose desire is to reduce transit times with the precise knowledge of the ice boundary. The IIP puts out ice charts and ice bulletins (text). Last year, the IIP tracked over 3000 icebergs south of 52° North latitude, and 22 bergs south of 48° North. CDR Sielbeck also described the IIP's ice reconnaissance activities, and summarized upcoming projects in the year 2000.

John Falkingham provided an overview of activities of the Canadian Ice Service (CIS). Canada has a significant national interest in ice, both for marine transportation and meteorological impacts. The annual variation in the ice extent in Canadian waters is roughly equal to one-half of Canada's land mass. There is active shipping in a marginal ice zone somewhere around Canada during every month of the year. The CIS mission is to warn marine operators of hazardous ice conditions in Canadian waters, and understand Canada's ice environment. Mr Falkingham described CIS's organization and structure, its major partners and clients, its products and services, and its data sources. CIS uses approximately 5000 Radarsat images per year, and has found the data extremely useful.

Hans Valeur provided a review of DMI's ice activities. Denmark has two ice services, one under the Defense Ministry, and DMI under the Danish Transport Ministry. Dr Valeur described the requirements of DMI's various users, including cruise liners, the offshore oil industry, and the weather services. He described DMI's data sources, and noted that DMI was the largest Radarsat user in Europe last year, with the purchase of over 500 scenes. Dr Valeur described DMI's ice analysis process, products, strategic planning, product distribution, and future plans for access to new satellites and sensors based upon increased international cooperation.

Thor Jakobsson gave an overview of Iceland's ice charting and monitoring activities. He described Iceland's unique climate due to the meeting place of various ocean currents. Iceland has sea ice records going back hundreds of years, which are now being used by climatologists. Sea ice prediction near the island remains challenging. Dr Jakobsson showed temperature and salinity data, the normal position of ice edge between Iceland and Greenland, and related ship routing information. Occasionally, the ice edge reaches southward to close some harbors on the northern Icelandic coast. Dr Jakobsson summarized the objectives of Iceland's sea ice research unit, its information products, and its archiving activities.

Frode Dinessen gave an ice services overview of the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (DNMI), which has been providing ice charts since 1970. DNMI moved to Tromso in May 1997. DNMI produces digital ice charts every weekday. Mr Dinessen described DNMI's data production and distribution process, and its use of visible, infrared, scatterometer, and radar data. He described DNMI's standard areas of analysis, its customers, its future automation plans, and its development of ice drift models.

Katsutoshi Naijo of the Japanese Transport Ministry gave a briefing on Japan's sea ice monitoring service for the Sea of Okhotsk. He presented information on his agency's distribution of sea ice edge information, its users, and future plans. Japan's ice monitoring service begins at 46 degrees north latitude. This service was established in November 1970, following the wreckage of eight fishing boats in Hitokappu Bay, which resulted in the deaths of 30 people. Mr Naijo showed a flowchart on how information gets to the Ice Information Center and is provided to users. He also showed many sample imagery products, and sample charts. He said that the Japanese government has plans to utilize data from the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) beginning in 2002.

Torbjorn Grafstrom provided an overview of the Swedish Ice Service (SMHI) in Norrkoping, Sweden. He described SMHI's organization, structure and ice products. The establishment of SMHI's ice service dates back to 1956, when numerous Swedish vessels were frozen in at port. Mr Grafstrom showed a map of ice extent and described seasonal variations, with the most recent severe ice winters being in 1985-87. Satellite imagery provides the bulk of Sweden's ice forecast-analysis products. Mr Grafstrom noted Sweden's longstanding Baltic Sea cooperation with the Finnish ice service in the Baltic.

Hannu Gronvall gave a presentation on the Finnish Ice Service. Mr Gronvall noted the importance of Baltic Sea shipping to Finland's economy. Finland receives over 23,000 port calls each winter. Maritime transportation is expected to grow rapidly in the next decade, and no new icebreakers will come on line. He described the structure and organization of the Finnish Institute of Marine Research, and some events in the history of the Finnish Ice Service, which is one of the world's oldest. He also provided a flow chart of operations and itemized the input data to models. Finland shares a common communications network with Swedish icebreakers and a common chart-making program with the Swedish and German services. He described data handling, production, and output products, and his agency's customer profile. He also provided sample ice charts, and noted that both Sweden and Finland exchange paper profiles but do not share the same digital data products.

Mr Klaus Strubing described the activities of the Ice Service of Germany's Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, which was founded in 1896. It shares the same products, chart, scale, and section as other Baltic Sea states, due to the implementing decisions taken by the Baltic Sea Ice Meeting. The German ice service has western and eastern branches, in Hamburg and Rostock. The service is responsible for over 550 routine coastal observations, to support operational and climatological requirements. Mr Strubing gave a historical overview of the service, and showed sample ice charts, reports and navigation restrictions. In response to a question from DMI, Mr Strubing said that Germany intends to continue operating its coastal stations for the foreseeable future.

Vasily Smolyanitsky provided an overview of Russia's sea ice services. This year marks the 165th anniversary of the Russian Committee on Hydrometeorology (Roshydromet), and next year will be the 50th anniversary of Roshydromet's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI). Mr Smolyanitsky showed a sample index of early integrated ice charts dating back to 1933. AARI uses air reconnaissance, satellite observations (including OKEAN and RESURS), onboard ship observations, and in-situ observations from coastal monitoring stations. He summarized the various output products available from AARI, and presented a flow chart which described AARI's end-to-end system for data receipt, processing, and distribution. AARI makes weekly Arctic sea ice charts available over the Internet. Mr Smolyanitsky also described his role in chairing the WMO's Subgroup on Sea Ice Activities. He presented a copy of WMO Publication #574 on Sea Ice Services for meeting participants to review and edit.

Discussion of Goals and Objectives

Meeting co-chair David Grimes noted that all of the agencies present have had long-standing organizations, varied responsibilities, and international partnerships. He raised some key points and common themes of interest to the group, which were as follows:

  1. Each service desired to further international cooperation, through mechanisms such as those already discussed (e.g., the Baltic Sea Ice Meeting, the Joint Ice Working Group, the International Ice Patrol, and the World Meteorological Organization).
  2. Each service knew the importance of obtaining good data and information, with a growing emphasis on remote sensing.
  3. Each service depended upon other services for critical information and analysis. There were many similarities in information processing and assimilation, and some redundancy in products from center to center.
  4. Each service knew the importance of interaction with its clients, and the importance of feedback mechanisms. However, information on how the client influences each service's operations was lacking in some presentations.
  5. Each service was aware of the need for research efforts, and the necessity of translating research results into new operational applications.
  6. In the presentations, there was not much focus on the major challenges facing each service. Mr Grimes noted that, from his Service's perspective, there are major concerns about future access to quality data. Mr Grimes asked that each service keep these points in mind during the next presentation on the IICWG's goals and objectives.

Terms of Reference, Creation of Standing Committees

CDR Mineart then facilitated a discussion on the IICWG's organization. The purpose of the discussion was to identify the group's goals and objectives, develop a terms of reference, and identify standing committees to address these goals and objectives. He suggested that the focus be on data and information sharing, system development, research, and operational practices. CDR Mineart described the many developments supporting enhanced international collaboration: advanced analysis techniques, new space-based remote sensors and algorithms; decreased communications costs and increased communications capacities, enabling the rapid sharing of data and information; increasing international emphasis on Arctic science; and, finally, the cost-sharing and added efficiency of cooperative projects.

CDR Mineart went over a recommended terms of reference to address the following matters:

  1. data and product exchange,
  2. terminology, data and mapping standards,
  3. communications technology,
  4. operations and customer support,
  5. technology for analysis and forecasting,
  6. training, and
  7. applied science, research, and development.

He noted that the group may want to consolidate these issues somewhat into a small number of standing committees, to enable each service to be represented within each committee. Subsequent discussion led to the establishment of two standing committees on the following topics:

  1. Applied Science and Research, and
  2. Data, Information, and Customer Support.

After further discussion of these topics, the general session adjourned in order for these two groups to develop their terms of reference, consider common interests, and agree to specific actions.

Satellites for Ice Monitoring

Following the initial reports of the standing committees the general session reconvened. David Benner provided an overview of future satellite sensors for ice mapping. An ad hoc committee was established by the last US-Canada JIWG to examine and prioritize future satellite sensors for ice mapping and research. Present sensors and satellites are visible-infrared, passive microwave, and Synthetic Aperture Radar. Future sensors will provide more diverse imaging capabilities. Mr Benner gave a survey and timeline of future visible, microwave, SAR, scatterometry, and multispectral missions, including MODIS, VIIRS, CMIS, ERS-2, Radarsat-2, Envisat, ALOS, and ASCAT. In conclusion, the group's stated interest was to continue use of traditional measurements while gaining experience with new ones. Meeting participants also expressed interest in approaching commercial data vendors as a consolidated group, to get data on better cost terms and conditions.

Action 1-2: IICWG participants to consider negotiating a common price from commercial satellite vendors for future purchase contracts.

A question was raised as to the public availability of NPOESS data. Mr Benner agreed to investigate the policy and provide information on this topic to the IICWG.

Action 1-3: NOAA to provide information on NPOESS data availability for ice charting and research.

Mike Manore of the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing gave an overview of Radarsat-2 system characteristics and the mission's applicability for ice monitoring. The Radarsat-2 satellite mission is a public-private partnership between CSA and MacDonald Detwiler Associates (MDA). Radarsat-2 will be a commercial mission with MDA as the owner and operator of the satellite. CSA's financial contribution to the mission will be "repaid" in data from the mission. Radarsat-2 will provide operational continuity with Radarsat-1, plus technical enhancements. The mission's goal is to further develop the commercial SAR market and maintain Canadian leadership in SAR technology. The satellite's planned launch date is October 2002, with a seven-year mission life. Mr Manore described the technical characteristics of the satellite, including its various beam modes and polarization options. Radarsat-2 will offer enhanced ice monitoring capabilities, shorter lead-time tasking, and rapid beam switching. The encrypted downlink of the satellite may restrict the choice of processor (MDA may require use of its own processor).

Lars-Anders Breivik and Soren Anderson gave a presentation on the development of the Satellite Application Facility (SAF) multi-sensor sea ice product. By 2002, portions of the EUMETSAT ground segment will be distributed to several SAFs, located in and co-sponsored by national meteorological centers. A SAF dedicated to satellite-derived ocean and sea ice products is under development and being coordinated by Meteo-France. Within this framework, the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, the Danish Meteorological Institute, and the Swedish Meteorological Institute are responsible for development of high-latitude sea ice products. Products will be based on satellite observations from passive and active microwave measurements, and from additional information provided by optical sensors. The SAF sea ice products will be ice edge, estimations of ice cover, and ice type that distinguishes between multiyear and first-year ice. The users targeted by the SAF are primarily meteorological and oceanographical centers, with other possible operational users including the offshore oil industry, navigation, the research community, and others.

Keld Hansen of DMI provided a briefing on real-time mapping of sea ice for navigation near Greenland. He explained the experience and preliminary conclusions of the most recent ice season with operational use of Radarsat data for sea ice mapping, as seen from the analyst's point of view. He also described reconnaissance, training, and applications milestones in the operational use of Radarsat data. In the 1999 ice season, DMI conducted 17 underflights to validate Radarsat observations. In the melt season, image quality decreases dramatically. The project found a significant difference between aircraft-derived and satellite-derived analyses. The study concluded that Radarsat data should be supplemented by other data sources (such as AVHRR or aerial reconnaissance data) to support comprehensive analyses. More research will be done on this topic in the coming ice season.

Ice Operations, Analysis and Forecasting Techniques

Cheryl Bertoia gave a presentation on opportunities for collaboration in ice science and technology development at the NIC. Work is coordinated under a five-year science plan. The NIC's goal is to move away from manual global products to more automated ones, allowing analysts to focus their efforts on detailed regional analyses.

Ms Bertoia reported on evaluation efforts for a first-guess classification project known as ARKTOS (Advanced Reasoning using Knowledge for Typing Of Sea ice). CIS is planning its own operational demonstration, and DMI has also expressed interest. NIC would like to use ARKTOS to develop global rule-based systems along with supplemented regional rule-based systems, in consultation with other major ice centers. Ms Bertoia described evaluation of MIMS (the Multiyear Ice Mapping System), which is used to quickly map all old ice in uncalibrated Radarsat ScanSAR imagery. She said that various SSM/I studies are now taking place with the goal of improving application of microwave in analyzing thinner ice. Ms Bertoia also stated that NIC is examining a new proposed ice analysis procedure and building a new ice analysis and GIS system, which would provide great opportunities for international collaboration. The NIC also is planning additional PIPS-related research projects involving ENVISAT and MODIS data. In all these endeavors, NIC would welcome further international collaboration with other major centers.

Richard Hall from the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University presented information on the IceCam system. This is an automated ship-mounted video camera system which is used to obtain quantitative data for classifying satellite images of sea ice. By synchronizing the video images with the ERS SAR images, it was possible to distinguish confidently between open water and ice. The University would like to place this camera on as many Arctic-bound ships as possible, to reduce ambiguity from separate human observations.

Dennis Conlon of the US Office of Naval Research provided a presentation on the Polar Ice Prediction System (PIPS) model, and a plan for incorporation of user feedback. PIPS predicts ice thickness and ice movement. He also briefly described other ONR models, such as the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS), the Ocean Thermal Interpolation System (OTIS), and the WAve Model (WAM). He offered access to other IICWG participants in a joint research partnership to improve operational environmental products.

Ingibjorg Jonsdottir of Scott Polar Research gave a presentation on the evaluation of real-time SAR images for sea-ice monitoring in Icelandic waters. Regional ERS data were compared with ground and aircraft data, and with data from other ice centers. Ms Jonsdottir presented the methodology, testing of the real-time service and comments received from ships in the area, and possible improvements. Future plans include strengthened links between users and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), improved distribution methods, further SAR training, contacting possible SAR image buyers, and further coordination with other national centers.

Yuri Scherbakov provided information on the application of electronic sea ice charts in GIS formats for ice navigation support in the Russian ice service, and on-line access to ice information via the Internet. Mr Scherbakov provided a schematic for obtaining ice information. He describe AARI's "Videobox" display and graphic projection program. He described production of charts through ARCINFO correction and ARCVIEW display-charting. ARCVIEW is used for side-looking real aperture radar validation. AARI has arranged a way to have ship observations encoded and display the data in ARC format. There is a way to convert from the WMO ice code to this format and back. Ice charts are generally produced on a daily basis.

Data Archiving

Florence Fetterer gave a presentation on the US National Snow and Ice Data Center of the World Data Center for Glaciology. In 1982, NOAA/NESDIS chartered NSIDC to provide snow and ice data and information services. Ms Fetterer is the NOAA liaison at NSIDC and the unofficial liaison to operational users and centers. NSIDC holds over 300 snow and ice data sets. She restated that operational sea ice charts are important for polar research, and NSIDC would be glad to receive and archive these data. She noted that format is an important issue, with digital-gridded being the most user-friendly from NSIDC's perspective.

Richard Chagnon presented information on improving access to archived ice data at the Canadian Ice Service. He described archive contents, catalog location, and the types of information available: bulleting, images, point data, and ice charts. Most data is currently off-line. CIS has archived data digitally through CIDAS (the Canadian Ice Data Archiving System). Recently, CIDAS deliveries have nearly doubled annually. Mr Chagnon briefly described World Wide Web access to Canadian data holdings, scanning and digitizing efforts. He also introduced numerous archived data products.

Vasily Smolyanitsky of AARI provided information about on-line access to ice information via the Internet, through the WMO Global Digital Sea Ice Databank Project. Mr Smolyanitsky displayed time-sequenced ice maps in the Arctic and in the Antarctic regions, based on Russian and other data sets.

The group once again adjourned for continued discussions in the standing committees.

A Celebration of 40 Years of Operation: the Ice Patrol Service in Narsarsuaq, Greenland

When the group reconvened, Hans Valeur of DMI presented a briefing on the 40th anniversary of Greenland's ice service. Since 1889, Denmark had collected and published information on sea ice in the Greenland waters. In January 1959, the loss of the Danish ship Hans Hedtoft resulted in the deaths of 95 people. This tragedy resulted in creation of Denmark's ice reconnaissance service. He described the organization of the service, which is managed by DMI with the involvement of the Greenland Ice Patrol, the Royal Greenland Trade Department, and Greenland Air Command. He exhibited the aircraft ice reconnaissance platforms used in the past 40 years, early ice charts and plotting problems, early use of satellite information, the transition to satellite imagery, changes in user categories, and expectations for the future user demands and new products.

Following this presentation, Dr Valeur and DMI were recognized by the NIC for their 40 years of leadership and expertise in the management of the ice service, and were presented with a plaque. Dr Valeur accepted in honor of those involved in the Hans Hedtoft tragedy, and stressed the imperative of future cooperation to guard against such losses in the future. He recognized the substantial cooperation provided to DMI by the Canadian, US, and Icelandic ice services.

International Ice Terminology and Symbology

John Falkingham of the Canadian Ice Service provided information on the Canadian Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System (AIRSS), and noted a user need for additional ice information. Under Canadian law, the CCG regulates which vessels may enter the Arctic region. He described the System's zone and fixed date system, and System requirements outside of specific zones/dates. He described the ice numeral system and table of ice multipliers, and the criteria needed for related calculations. In addition to WMO code requirements, additional factors to be calculated include ice decay, ridging, and brash ice. Users have told CIS that ice decay is the most important factor for the agency to focus on. Mr Falkingham suggested that the working group consider recommending changes to the WMO code to address this matter.

Roger De Abreau gave a briefing on recent CIS initiatives to observe and report on sea ice decay. He did an overview of ice decay analysis, the challenges in looking at the data, the current WMO standard, and specific recommendations for further working group discussion. He described Canada's Fast Ice Breakup Advisory Service, which is aimed at preventing people from being stranded on ice floes following early ice breakup, and recent Radarsat research studies supporting it. Dr De Abreau presented a set of proposed decay stages, which are defined by surface microwave scattering properties. CIS would like to advance a new definition of ice decay, and identify opportunities for research collaboration related to its observance and understanding.

Klaus Strubing gave a presentation on the color coding of ice charts. The color coding complemented the traditional "egg code" charts produced in North America. The main question was how to define the color sequence. He recommended that the IICWG make a specific recommendation on color code sequence to the WMO, to facilitate a useful international standard. Colors were particularly useful to the user community, especially for Internet-provided services. Mr Strubing presented a proposed color key for ice concentration. Subsequent questions noted that multiyear ice and stages of development would need to be considered.

Action 1-4: IICWG to consider a specific recommendation on color code sequence to the WMO, to facilitate a useful international standard.

Use of GIS In Chart Production

Paul Seymour of the US National Ice Center gave a presentation on the NIC's GIS formats and standards and its plans for the future. The impetus for this brief had to do with changes relating to the Internet, new hardware and software, cost requirements for charts (such as ECDIS), cost recovery/downsizing, and a need to share ice charts and data. He described the evolution of the NIC's ice charting needs and products, the evolution of GIS and related standards (formats, transfer, metadata, coast) and implications for the ice community. Mr Seymour recommended a common data model, common standards (formal or de facto), an agreed-upon coastline format, and a dialogue on long-term goals.

Mr Seymour also described the history of the use of national charts and experiences gained from the Canada-US Joint Ice Working Group and the US-Russia Environmental Working Group. GIS makes improved international ice charting attainable, through expert regional input. CIS and NIC are now more sharing work in the Great Lakes, and not duplicating effort. By agreeing on some standards, the IICWG could facilitate the exchange of charts to save everyone time and effort.

Henrik Andersen of DMI presented information on DMI's new ice charting system, SIKU (the Greenlandic word for "sea ice"). DMI decided to develop this new GIS-based system to produce digital ice charts in vector format and handle Radarsat and other satellite data types efficiently. The new system was built upon existing commercial geographic information and image processing software packages. Mr Anderson outlined the requirements, structure, data flow, and basic functionality of SIKU and discussed DMI's reasons for using a GIS approach. He also described plans for future SIKU developments.

Dean Flett of CIS described the evolution and current status of CIS's GIS architecture, through a report produced by Peter Griffiths, CIS's Development Manager for Informatics. In 1996, Canada installed its Ice Services Integrated System (ISIS). Mr Flett described ISIS's data analysis and product generation activities, the ISIS client life cycle, the use of Windows NT, porting the ISIS Client to an NT system and resulting performance improvements, and enterprise-wide GIS architecture.

Satellite and Modeling Activities in Greenland Waters

Leif Toudal Pederson of the Danish Center for Remote Sensing reported on satellite and modeling activities in Greenland waters, in particular the use of microwave radiometry. He gave information on a pancake ice model that uses microwave data as input, which has provided an improvement over previous models. He presented model characteristics and the parameters it tracks. He also showed a comparison between the model and observed pancake salinities. Model results were in general agreement with hydrographic measurements. There is potential use for this model in other marginal sea areas in the Arctic and Antarctic.


Dean Flett of CIS provided a briefing on the use of Radarsat to detect icebergs. The CIS and the IIP maintain coordinated iceberg monitoring and prediction programs. The use of Radarsat data in iceberg prediction is the subject of a three-year program funded by the Canadian Government. The study will assess capabilities of iceberg detection from operational Radarsat data, and evaluate SAR algorithms in iceberg detection. The IIP provides near-coincident under flights of Radarsat passes, visual identification, photos, video, iceberg size/shape, and sea state information. A Canadian contractor provided surface validation, detailed position, and additional in-situ verification information. Results were encouraging, despite the light iceberg season. CIS will develop a prototype system for extracting icebergs from SAR and methods to integrate these data with conventional sources.

Klaus Strubing briefly discussed an issue concerning the availability of CIS and IIP iceberg information on board ships during the past ice season. He related a shipmaster's concerns about the lack of iceberg information from CIS and IIP ordinarily received through his GMDSS equipment. CDR Sielbeck said that IIP had fully expected to open the iceberg season last year, but never did so due to the light conditions. Nevertheless, users expect to receive IIP bulletins each year. CDR Sielbeck provided a list of IIP product charts and bulletins, and the various methods of transmitting them. GMDSS ships should be able to receive Inmarsat or SITOR (SImplex Teletype Over Radio) formatted information. Last year, icebergs were outside of the IIP's operations area, and limited to coastal Canadian waters. The IIP had referred mariners to the CIS for regional ice information. Unfortunately, according to Mr Falkingham, not all mariners received this referral information. CDR Sielbeck said that the IIP will develop contingencies for such future scenarios. John Falkingham showed CIS iceberg notification and cautions to mariners; however, in this instance, the information did not get placed in the proper location.

Action 1-5: IIP to develop contingency procedures to address provision of iceberg information outside of the normal iceberg season, and outside of the IIP's zones of responsibility. (Steve Sielbeck, IIP)

Rashpal Gill of DMI gave a presentation on ice edge and iceberg determination in Radarsat images. His presentation addressed problems in ice edge differentiation. Gray values from the Power-to-Mean Ratio (PMR) seem to be the most reliable and efficient way to determine ice edge. He displayed numerous images in the briefing. A continuing challenge is how to detect targets against background clutter, and how to eliminate false targets. Nevertheless, with manual interpretation, initial results were very encouraging.

The Future for Ice Information in Electronic Navigation Chart Systems (ECDIS)

John Falkingham of CIS gave a presentation on the future of ice information in electronic navigation chart systems. He described the current status of Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS), which were gaining acceptance as the marine navigation tool of choice. He reported on a recent workshop which supported the furthering of the ECDIS concept. In recent months, however, this effort had stalled. As a result, Mr Falkingham proposed that IICWG participants contact the IHO and WMO to express interest in ECDIS ice information objects and offer ice expertise to ensure that Revision 4 of the S-57 standard incoporates ice information objects. Mr Falkingham also proposed that an ad hoc IICWG subcommittee be formed to work with the IHO's Maritime Information Objects working group, which plans to meet in Burlington, Canada on November 8-9, 1999. The group agreed that ECDIS was the future standard to work toward, and directed the Standing Committee on Data, Information, and Customer Support to implement it.

Action 1-6: IICWG participants to contact IHO and WMO to express interest in Electronic Chart Display Information Systems (ECDIS) ice information objects and offer ice expertise to ensure that Revision 4 of the S-57 standard incorporate ice information objects. IICWG co-chairs to write a letter to IMO/IHO expressing interest in participating in work to incorporate ice information into the international standards for ECDIS.

Standing Committee Reports and Review of Action Items

Following this presentation, the two standing committees provided their reports to the general session. CDR Sielbeck agreed to be the 1999/2000 coordinator for Standing Committee 1 on Data, Information, and Customer Support. Messrs Gill and Flett agreed serve as 1999/2000 co-coordinators for Standing Committee 2 on Applied Science and Research. Both standing committees presented the results of their discussions and recommended actions. The group agreed on the common need to accomplish selected, high-priority actions in the coming year, prior to a second IICWG meeting. Other, longer-term goals could also begin to be addressed in the coming year.

The group reviewed and approved its Terms of Reference (Attachment [x]), which incorporate the terms of reference for each standing committee. The group also reviewed and approved action items for each standing committee and for the general session. A consolidated list of these actions is provided in Attachment [x].

Closing Remarks

David Grimes noted that ice-related meetings in Ottawa in early May would present the opportunity for the Standing Committees to meet and review their progress. Canada's Atmospheric and Environmental Service could make special arrangements to accommodate a follow-on meeting for each Standing Committee.

The meeting co-chairs recommended a second IICWG meeting in one year's time to review actions and maintain the desired momentum toward closer cooperation. Dr Jakobsson offered to investigate the possibility for Iceland to host the group's second meeting in the October 2000 timeframe. Working group participants welcomed this offer and agreed to await further information on this matter.

In his closing remarks, Mr Grimes said he believed that the meeting had been a rousing success. He noted that common interests and enthusiasm were evident throughout the meeting and the social events. In his closing remarks, co-chair Mr Boedtker said that the group's deliberations fit well into DMI's efforts to re-engineer its services and provide better products to its customers. The group had provided an excellent forum to address new ideas, and he looked forward to its results in the coming months and years. He also thanked ONR, NIC, CIS, and DMI staff for their support of the meeting. In conclusion, he said that meeting participants were always welcome to return to Copenhagen.

Mr Strubing conveyed thanks on behalf of the Baltic Sea Ice Working Group participants. He said that these new ideas and overseas connections should prove very useful to everyone. He also thanked Dr Valeur for his many years of service to the maritime community.

The meeting adjourned with everyone's warmest thanks to DMI, in particular to Mr Hansen and Ms Miller, for their fine hospitality and excellent meeting arrangements.