Satellite and sensor monitoring of ice conditions
Local populations that work with increasingly unpredictable ice conditions as Arctic winters get warmer need help monitoring and detecting how ice is forming in areas of commuting. By imaging and monitoring how and when ice forms, scientists can help predict when conditions are unsafe. This collection of data on weather conditions can also be used to track the effects of climate change.
Developed by Canadian universities, the Nunatsiavut and federal governments and private research companies, SmartICE is a monitoring system for ice conditions. Before the ice freezes in November, technicians deploy buoys with anchors into the sea, which then stay in ice as it freezes around them. Sensors on each device relay information about ice thickness and snow cover to a central database via satellite, together with satellites images which are then analyzed to create thematic maps with categories like rough ice, double ice (when ice freezes over meltwater) and smooth ice. The maps will be accessible online and through social media, giving people real-time information about routes during the most dangerous times of year when ice freezes and melts.