Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Better daily sea ice forecasts for the Arctic following CU-Boulder-led innovation

31.08.2015

Ice experts from the University of Colorado Boulder, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. National Ice Center and other institutions have developed a straightforward new technique for estimating sea ice concentration in the Arctic Ocean, and the new method improves the U.S. Navy's short-term sea ice forecast of ice edge location by almost 40 percent. With shipping on the rise in the Arctic Ocean, improving these short-term forecasts makes navigating in Arctic waters safer.

The Navy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and others have been seeking to improve sea ice forecasts, said Pamela Posey of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Mississippi. In the remote Arctic, unanticipated sea ice can slow science research vessels and create problems for Navy submarines.


In this image, showing sea ice cover on a single summer day in 2012, pink areas represent sea ice not captured by the satellite-based microwave instrument AMSR2, but accurately captured by the MASIE product. During that summer, an energy company had to cease drilling operations in the Arctic because of unanticipated ice. A blend of MASIE and AMSR2 is used to make the new dataset of sea ice conditions that the forecast model uses.

Credit: NSIDC

"It's especially important to have accurate forecasts given rapidly changing conditions in the Arctic," Posey said.

The new system--which captures current sea-ice conditions more accurately and in greater detail by blending several streams of data--has been used operationally in Navy forecasting since February, Posey said. Florence Fetterer with the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and colleagues developed the blended input approach, and NRL has now shown it improves 6-hour forecast accuracy by 40 percent year-round. During the summer, forecasts improved even more than that, they reported in a paper in The Cryosphere, a journal of the European Geosciences Union.

NSIDC is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The new ingredients now going into the Navy's official sea ice forecasts are satellite data and human interpretation of sea ice presence or absence from satellite sources, said Pablo Clemente-Colón, Chief Scientist of the U.S. National Ice Center, a collaboration of the Navy, NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard. "This is one of the first times that human analysis is ingested operationally into a major forecast model," he said.

A couple years ago, Posey and others recognized that sea ice forecast models--used by Navy submarines, the U.S. Coast Guard and many others just as they use weather forecasts--had improved, with more detailed or "higher resolution" output. But just as with weather forecasts, these models have to start with accurate initial conditions, and observations of sea ice had not kept pace with models. The Naval Research Laboratory asked experts at NSIDC to see what could be done.

"Our idea was pretty simple, to combine two types of measurements," said Fetterer, a CIRES scientist who is NSIDC's NOAA liaison. With colleagues from NASA, the National Ice Center and the Naval Research Laboratory, Fetterer blended data from the high-resolution satellite-based Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) with MASIE ("may-zee," the Multisensor Analyzed Sea Ice Extent), itself a blended product that includes human interpretation of many satellite imagery sources as well as other information. The MASIE product often catches ice that the microwave data alone miss, especially in summer, when melt ponds on the surface of the ice appear as ocean to the sensor. Where there is ice, the AMSR product supplies an estimate of ice concentration that the forecast model needs.

The resulting high-resolution dataset can capture even small patches of sea ice a few miles across, which are easy to miss in some satellite datasets. That means better input into forecasts, and more accurate output, too. "We expect this combined product is going to do a much, much, much better job at initializing the Navy's forecast model," Fetterer said.

The Navy used the new technique this summer as part of its support to the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy, which conducted missions in the Beaufort Sea with a transit to the North Pole to study biogeochemistry of Arctic waters. The Navy has used the blended product to provide sea ice forecasts at 2-km resolution since July 2015, Posey said.

"It is really helping us, and it's providing a better product for the whole community that uses and depends on accurate sea ice information from forecast modelers to anybody with assets in the Arctic," Clemente-Colón said.

###

CIRES is a partnership of NOAA and CU-Boulder.

Katy Human | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: Arctic CIRES NOAA forecast model satellite sea ice submarines

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht In times of climate change: What a lake’s colour can tell about its condition
21.09.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht Did marine sponges trigger the ‘Cambrian explosion’ through ‘ecosystem engineering’?
21.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Hope to discover sure signs of life on Mars? New research says look for the element vanadium

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>