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SPICES Report Summary

Project ID: 640161
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.6.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SPICES (Space-borne observations for detecting and forecasting sea ice cover extremes)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The main objective of the SPICES project is to develop new methods to retrieve sea ice parameters from existing (and imminent) satellite sensors to provide enhanced products for polar operators and prediction systems, specifically
addressing extreme and unexpected conditions.
Automatic remote sensing products traditionally provide general information on sea ice conditions such as ice extent and concentration. However, for ice charting, tactical navigation and management of off-shore activities much more important is to know and avoid hazardous sea ice conditions. In general, sea ice hazards are related to sea ice thickness. More often than not polar ships and off-shore platforms are only operating during summer seasons and certain regions. This is because they are designed to resist typical forces of induced by pack ice, but they are not designed to resist the extreme sea ice conditions.
Ongoing climate warming has manifested as shrinking and thinning of pack ice in the Arctic. This is a primary driver for the increasing shipping, oil and gas explorations and mining activities in the Arctic. However, severe sea ice conditions still exist and in consequence many locations are impossible for ship based operations. Moreover, year-to-year variability of sea ice is very large and hazardous multiyear ice (MYI) floes sometimes appear also in typically
seasonally ice free regions.
In order to response needs of increase polar activities, SPICES focus on detection of sea ice extremes and automatic production of “sea ice warnings” products. In particular, SPICES aims for a detection of MYI floes in a area composed mostly first-year ice from synthetic aperture radar (SAR), heavily ridged ice regions from SAR, the thickest ice from radar altimeter (RA) thickness profiles, regional anomalies of thick or thin ice via passive microwave (PMW) data, sea ice areas vulnerable for the wave action, detection of early/late melting season and improving capabilities to forecast seasonal sea ice extremes.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The project been progressed mainly as planned. Main achievement of the SPICES during the first year are
• Kick-off meeting was held at Helsinki on 18 – 19 August 2015
• SPICES www-page was published on October 2015 .
• Internal workshop on SAR processing was held at Tromssa on December 2015.
• Several SPICES presentation were given at the ESA Living Planet Symposium on May 2016.
• An promotional video was produced on May 2016
• A booth for a dissemination of the SPICES results at the European Space Solution Conference at den Haag on 31 May to 3 June 2016 was arranged.
• 13 deliverables has been produced.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The SPICE project aims to 1) the development of new methods for retrieval of sea ice parameters from existing and near future EO sensors, especially the ESA Sentinels, 2) integration of new sea ice products into forecasting systems for sea ice, and 3) demonstration and evaluation of weekly-to-seasonal scale sea ice forecasts. The SPICES sea ice products are targeted for use in scientific (sea ice processes and trends etc.) and operational (ship navigation, off-shore oil and gas exploration, fishing etc.) activities in the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. The products can be integrated into operational service chains by EUMETSAT OSI SAF, national ice services and to the Copernicus Marine Services.

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