Sea Ice Motion: How can you Use GIS for Sea Ice Motion Navigation?

As the northern sea routes are developing at a rapid pace and people are exploiting the petroleum resources in the antarctic ocean, it has become more important now than ever to analyze the sea-ice conditions. In the past few years, researchers have proposed two suitable approaches for identifying the sea-ice conditions in cold areas.

The main approach includes researching the sea-ice condition with the help of remote-sensing data, i.e., the GIS (geographic information system) technology. This helps researchers collect a better and bigger picture of the sea. This approach focuses on the satellite passive data. The other one involves a sea-ice evolution model, which is used for simulation as well as prediction purposes.

Similar to this, quite a few models have been proposed and implemented in the past for accurate analyses of the sea ice motion. However, because of the limited data, the observation and results have not been as precise and detailed as people imagined. Using the second approach, researchers could collect some data about the sea-ice motion, but as mentioned above, the results were not accurate and detailed.

This was mainly because of the lack of high-resolution output, as well as the high-resolution validation data. That is why researchers decided to use a geographic information system for a better and more thorough evaluation of the initial data. Not only for achieving the accuracy in the DMDF model but it is used to show the calculation results with the help of observational data for evaluation, as well as further study.

What’s the Use of Sea Ice?

Sea ice helps delay the melting of the snow in summer. Contrary to what people believe, sea ice isn’t a smooth sheet of ice. In fact, it happens to be one of the most complex surfaces, with the texture of the ice varying across distances. Sea ice plays a crucial part in maintaining the earth’s energy balance. It helps maintain the coolness of the polar region. It also has the ability to reflect a considerable amount of sunlight back to space.

This thicker texture of ice maintains coolness in the air by creating a strong barrier between the cool air above the ice and the warm below beneath it. Put it in simple words, the frozen area around the seawater is considered sea ice. As mentioned earlier, the thickness of the sea ice can vary significantly. It could be a slushy area to the sheets of ice that are extremely thick. The satellites are widely used for measuring the thickness, concentration, and extent of sea ice globally.

Earlier, it was not possible to collect the 3D images of the antarctic ocean, let alone analyze the thickness of the sea ice. Thanks to the advent of GIS technology. Researchers have been able to collect 3D pictures of the sea ice to identify the routes for transportation. Based on this data, authorities in states can identify the most suitable areas for navigation, shipping, exploitation of the living and non-living resources.