The detection, monitoring, and forecasting of sea-ice conditions, including their extremes, is very important for ship navigation and offshore activities, and for monitoring of sea-ice processes and trends. We summarize here recent advances in the monitoring of sea-ice conditions and their extremes from satellite data as well as the development of sea-ice seasonal forecasting capabilities. Our results are the outcome of the three-year (2015-2018) SPICES (Space-borne Observations for Detecting and Forecasting Sea-Ice Cover Extremes) project funded by the EU's Horizon 2020 programme. New SPICES sea-ice products include pancake ice thickness and degree of ice ridging based on synthetic aperture radar imagery, Arctic sea-ice volume and export derived from multisensor satellite data, and melt pond fraction and sea-ice concentration using Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) radiometer data. Forecasts of July sea-ice conditions from initial conditions in May showed substantial improvement in some Arctic regions after adding sea-ice thickness (SIT) data to the model initialization. The SIT initialization also improved seasonal forecasts for years with extremely low summer sea-ice extent. New SPICES sea-ice products have a demonstrable level of maturity, and with a reasonable amount of further work they can be integrated into various operational sea-ice services.
- Remote sensing
- Sea ice