The ice loss leads to an increasing number of icebergs in the area. Safe and efficient navigation through these ice-infested waters requires accurate, up-to-date sea ice information. Iceberg detection services are currently being provided by national ice centres, mainly using European and Canadian radar sensors.
The Polar View initiative, established by European and Canadian organisations under the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme, cooperates with European Ice Services to improve ice monitoring and forecasting.
Ulf Gullne, a Polar View user responsible for ice-breaking services in Sweden, said: "It is vital for the safety of winter navigation to know where the ice is and where it is going to be. The use of satellite images has also reduced our ice-breakers' fuel consumption by half."
The EC policy calls for the continuity of monitoring in the area via the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) a joint initiative between ESA and the EC to combine all available space- and ground-based information sources to develop an independent European environmental monitoring capacity from planetary to local scales.
ESA is working to ensure this with its upcoming Sentinel missions, which will make certain that polar observations from space will continue with SAR and radar altimetry.
Data collected over the Arctic since 1991 is part of an ESA Initiative on Climate Change that was being presented to ESA Member States at its Ministerial Conference this week. The proposal aims to ensure delivery of appropriate information on climate variables derived from satellites.
|Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto|
European Space Agency