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Scientific Value of Arctic Sea Ice Imagery Derived Products
Priorities for Dissemination and Publicity Efforts
All 2007-2008 Data: This window coincides with the International Polar Year (IPY). Images from all six sites during this time will greatly enhance the benefits and value of a broad range of intensive ground-based observations that were collected during the IPY. Furthermore, this subset includes images of the minimum in sea-ice coverage observed during the summer 2007, when the extent of summer melt far exceeded the previous record.
Barrow: Images from the Barrow site would support a range of high-profile research projects in the coastal region at Barrow (Norton, 2001). These data will serve as an important resource for questions revolving around adaptation of coastal communities and ecosystems to climate change.
Beaufort Sea: The Beaufort Sea, with imagery dating to 1999, exhibits the broadest range of different ice types and ice ages, greatly increasing the value of Arctic sea-ice LIDPs in improving our ability to monitor and forecast the movement and evolution of different ice age and thickness classes. Forecasts of regional sea-ice conditions on seasonal timescales can help different stakeholders prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change and minimize environmental risks associated with industrial activity. Converging economic activities (natural resource extraction and shipping) and indigenous interests (subsistence harvest of marine mammals) in the Beaufort region place great importance on the detection and tracking of multiyear ice. Offshore oil and gas exploration activities in this region will also benefit from more accurate determination of the ice edge and hazardous ice conditions.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE FUTURE
If data will be collected in the future and LIDPs produced for the purpose of public release, some modifications/additions would make the data even more useful for scientific research. Operators of classified assets could continue to collect ice images during suitable atmospheric conditions at the existing Beaufort Sea, Canada Basin, and Chukchi Sea sites. Assuming that the location and number of sites is not fixed, adding collection of imagery at the North Pole, where extended field observations are already underway, would be particularly valuable. Dynamic image collection that tracks how an individual ice feature evolves over time and a mechanism to communicate this information in near real-time for a given feature would complement the existing data, which are images at fixed locations in space through which different ice features pass over time. If available, any corresponding radar data would be particularly valuable.