Community research on sea ice mapping




Richard and Becky Near Kugluktuk

Becky Segal, MSc student, was in the Canadian Arctic communities of Kugluktuk, Cambridge Bay, and Gjoa Haven from November 13 – 26, 2017. Along with researchers from Ocean Networks Canada and the Canadian Ice Service, she conducted public meetings, workshops, and interviews. Becky is researching ways to map and deliver enhanced sea ice information to these communities using satellite image data, particularly synthetic aperture radar data (SAR).


Workshop in Cambridge Bay. Clockwise starting centre-front: Tommy, George, Luc Paul, Gary, Laura, and Becky. Photo Credit: Pearl.

Community members are very knowledgeable about SAR images. They have expressed interest in having access to SAR images that are processed in ways that provide reliable information about areas of rough and smooth sea ice (for travel planning), as well as hazards to be avoided. Since the European Space Agency launched the Sentinel-1 SAR in 2014, free and open access SAR imagery makes mapping and information delivery to communities much closer to a reality. Becky consulted with community members on ideal formats for the delivery of Sentinel-1 SAR images and derived maps. She also went on four sea ice excursions to areas of interest identified by locals as travel hazards or areas of known change. More community activities are planned for the spring of 2018.


Sea Ice Excursion. Left to right: Adrienne, Maia, George, Laura, Becky, Jimmy, and Mercedes.


Prototype Sea Ice Roughness Map


A Curious Arctic Fox

New article in Annals of Glaciology


A new ICElab research article was just published in the journal Annals of Glaciology. The paper was led by Randy Scharien, and co-authoured by ICElab graduate students Becky Segal and Sasha Nasonova, as well as researchers at University of Calgary and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). The article outlines a new approach to predict the susceptibility of the Arctic sea ice cover to spring melt several months in advance, using satellite images from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellite. This work contributes to improved seasonal sea ice predictions for safe Arctic marine routing and ecosystem preservation, and marine studies concerned with regional variations in ice melting rates from year to year. Download it free here.