British Antarctic Survey remote sensing expert Andrew Fleming is part of a new European project to aid ships’ navigation in ice-infested waters in the European Arctic and the Baltic Sea that is launched this week.
Sailing through dense sea ice
The €2 million project is part of Europe’s Global Monitoring system for Environment and Security (GMES). Over the next three years, organisations from Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom will work in partnership to establish a sea-ice information service to improve access to existing and new ice information products.
Led by Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT), Norway, the ICEMAR service will provide continuous and accurate up-to-date information on the ice conditions in these regions, including forecasts and the location and movements of icebergs. The service has particular value for supporting safe passage of ships through the Arctic Ocean in the summer months – a route that would drastically shorten the shipping line between Europe and China by some 6,000km – leading to substantial savings in time, fuel and CO2 emissions.
The project will create a system to allow users to enter their specified area of interest and retrieve all available ice information for that region. This will be displayed in geo-referenced layers on existing equipment on the ship’s bridge. Information will even be available in areas with only minimum internet connections.
The project will build on existing ice service elements including GMES and national/regional institutional and commercial services. The ICEMAR service will be established in an open and expansible way to facilitate the easy inclusion of additional information services and coverage of new geographical regions as they become available.
The consortium brings together 12 collaborators, including system and satellite service providers, ice chart producers and maritime educators. All interested parties are invited to register as users to both receive updates and provide feedback on their information requirements when operating in these ice-affected regions.
British Antarctic Survey website