Status of Near-Real Time Remote Sensing Data Operational Use at the U.S. National Ice Center (NIC)
U.S. National Ice Center, UNITED STATES
The National Ice Center (NIC) is a U.S. Government agency that brings together the Department of Defense - Navy, Department of Commerce - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Department of Homeland Security - U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to support coastal and marine sea ice operations and research in the Polar Regions. The NIC provides specialized strategic and tactical ice analyses to meet the operational needs of the U.S. government and is the only operational ice service in the world that provides continuous operational monitoring of sea ice conditions in the Arctic and Antarctic regions as well as in other subpolar ice infested waters. NIC utilizes multiple sources of near real time satellite and in-situ observations as well as NWP and ocean-sea ice model output to produce sea ice analyses. Key users of NIC products in the Arctic include the Navy submarine force, National Weather Service, USCG and Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers, Military Sealift Command on re-supply missions to Antarctica and Greenland, and NOAA research vessels operating near sea ice cover in both hemispheres as well. Time series of NIC weekly or bi-weekly ice analysis charts, daily marginal ice zone and ice edge routine products, as well as tactical support annotated imagery are generated by expert analysts with wide access to near real time satellite imagery from VIS/IR to passive and active microwave sensors. The status of these satellite data streams, planned changes in their frequency and the expected availability of new capabilities for snow and sea ice monitoring in the near future will be discussed.