Prediction of hazardous conditions for Arctic marine operators

Arctic shipping is on the rise and the hazardous sea-ice and weather conditions, the lack of daylight during large parts of the year, and the sparse telecommunication network make the region a highly challenging operating environment.

Since 2017 ships operating in the Arctic are expected to follow specific regulations (PolarCode) in order to avoid hazardous environmental conditions. However, there are many challenges to provide accurate weather and sea-ice forecasts in the Arctic area and it is important to understand the predictability of our current forecasting systems in a combination with the mobility patterns of Arctic shipping.

The project:
A satellite-based-ship tracking system (AIS - Automatic Identification System) gives us information about the positioning of ships in the Arctic since 2013. A combination of this data, with information on atmospheric, sea-ice, and wave conditions can provide us with additional information on the exposure of Arctic marine operators to extreme and hazardous weather and sea-ice conditions. This information is very important for performing targeted predictability studies with the currently used weather, ocean, and sea-ice forecasting systems.

This master project entails the combination of AIS data with remote sensing and reanalyses (atmosphere/wave/sea-ice) to assess key regions and seasons in which marine operators are exposed to hazardous environmental conditions. For the chosen parameters (e.g. extreme winds, temperatures, icing, …) and the identified regions and seasons, the predictive skill of our forecasting systems will be assessed, in order to provide a better understanding of our current Arctic forecasting capabilities.

The master thesis project can be affiliated with the project PRISMAS (Co-producing knowledge about risk and safety of maritime activities around Svalbard,, which is an interdisciplinary research project between the University of Tromsø, MET Norway, and The University Centre in Svalbard.

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Figure: Ship traffic density in the European Arctic in 2012. Based on the Automatic System (AIS) data, provided by The Norwegian Coastal Administration. Click here for a bigger version of the picture. 


Published Oct. 2, 2020 2:27 PM - Last modified Oct. 2, 2020 2:27 PM

Scope (credits)