MOSAiC: Floe-scale observation and quantification of Arctic sea ice breakup and floe size during the autumn-to-summer transition (MOSAiCFSD)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Huddersfield
Department Name: Sch of Applied Sciences

Abstract

This project investigates multi-scale sea ice processes in the so-called marginal ice zone (MIZ), a region in the Arctic Ocean typically consisting of small, discrete ice floes in summer. This MIZ is very dynamic, easily affected by waves and wind, which enhances the heat and momentum exchanges between ocean and atmosphere. This dynamic MIZ has been grown during past decades, and is projected to grow to an even greater extent (almost all sea ice cover becoming the MIZ by 2080).

The very inherent process within this expanding MIZ is sea ice freeze-up, deformation, spring breakup and summer melt. In autumn, open water and ice floes survived the summer melt consolidate to form a continuous sheet of winter ice that contains a mixture of multiyear ice (from last summer), first-year (grown from autumn) and newly formed ice (grown later season). This winter ice is then deformed and fractured to form leads/cracks or ridges. In spring, this winter ice breaks apart into small discrete floes, which will be further broken apart or melt in summer. We hypothesize that this seasonal evolution of ice floes is linked and should be understood to improve sea ice-ocean/climate model prediction.

In this project, we aim to generate new observational data and understanding of this seasonal evolution of ice floes, at the year-long MOSAiC drifting station. For this, we will conduct small-scale (below 2 km) observation of sea ice freeze-up, deformation, spring breakup and summer melt using a combination of high-precisions GNSS buoys, drifters and airborne/satellite observations. This small-scale observational data will be combined with large-scale observation of deformation (above 2 km), ice types/features and floe size, forming a unique multi-scale data set, which will provide a comprehensive picture of the seasonal of ice floes. We will also explore the possibility to incorporate the generated data set into specific models to measure and demonstrate the impact of our process study.

The data set and knowledge gained from this project will enable modelling communities to develop, calibrate and validate their new/existing model parameterisations of sea ice-ocean and climate models, thus improving climate projection in the Arctic and providing improved advice to national and international governing bodies for climate change issues.

Planned Impact

This project will generate, as part of MOSAiC, new datasets and knowledge of physical processes in the marginal ice zone (MIZ) of the changing Arctic Ocean, including the impact of thinner, smaller floes in the expanding MIZ and subsequent increase in deformation and floe breakup/melting. We will quantify small-scale (below 2 km) deformations and floe breakup/melt mechanisms and evaluate their impacts to the reduced sea ice cover. This small-scale observational data will be combined with large-scale observation of deformation, ice types, fracture features and floe size, forming a unique multi-scale data set over the full annual cycle. The synthesis of the data will then be used to improve model parameterisations and address fundamental questions about the seasonal dynamics of sea ice.

The unique data/outputs generated from this project will benefit the MOSAiC team, modelling scientists as well as national and international Arctic/Antarctic research communities. We will engage with these specific users through direct collaborations such as project partnership and existing connections. For wider user communities, the improved sea ice-ocean/climate models, aided by our outputs, will benefit national and international policy makers, private sectors such as oil/gas and shipping/insurance companies, as well as local Inuit communities. We will achieve this through peer-reviewed publications in high-impact journals, presenting the results at major international conferences/workshops, and arranging private meetings with stakeholders.
 
Description We have deployed six high-precision GNSS buoys at the MOSAiC drifting site in the Arctic between November 2020 and October 2021. COVID19 had caused a significant impact on crew rotation and logistical challenges. Despite these difficulties, we have acquired sections of the data from the high-precision GNSS buoys. Early analysis of the data confirmed that the high-precision GNSS buoys measured the crack development at a few centimetre accuracies. as originally anticipated. Some interesting results include May storm events in 2021. During this time we observed a large-scale deformation event. Our observations from the high-precision GNSS buoys also captured a small crack on a sea ice floe that had widened up 6 cm over 10 mins. Further analysis of these observations can provide a new understanding of small-scale ice deformations and crack or ridging processes.
We also published research to improve sea ice floe size retrieval from satellite imagery. The new algorithm uses texture-sensitive superpixeling and adaptive thresholding to achieve a better segmentation of sea ice floes. This research has been published in IEEE JSTARS.
Exploitation Route The data generated from the GNSS/INS buoys will be used by other researchers around the world. We are currently working together with project partners from the U.S. to analyse the data to build multi-scale deformation fields. The findings from this analysis will make a contribution to sea ice researchers, including climate modelling scientists.

The MCCIP report card we published will be read by policymakers, scientists and various stakeholders.
Sectors Education,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other

 
Description We have published an MCCIP report card on the Arctic sea ice climate. This report has been reviewed and published in 2020. The MCCIP report card is widely read by policymakers, stakeholders and the general public who are interested in climate and environmental topics. I have engaged with the general public through panel meetings and a public lecture. The findings from this award have discussed in the events.
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other
 
Title Manufacturing and deployment of GNSS/INS buoys 
Description We have assembled six GNSS/INS buoy systems to measure the sea ice deformation at a few centimetres of precision. These buoy systems have been tested and sent to the MOSAiC drifting site, and currently in operation. These systems will allow not only capture small-scale deformation events at high temporal (10 Hz) and spatial (a few cms) scales but also measure any disturbances caused by dynamic ice conditions (acceleration). 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The GNSS/INS buoy systems we have assembled and deployed at the MOSAiC drift site will allow us to improve our understanding of small-scale (less than 1 km and shorter than 1 hour) sea ice deformation processes. Understanding of such small-scale deformation is critical as most of violent deformation processes such as ridging and lead opening occur at this scale. Yet, such small-scale observation has been scarce. We anticipate the year-long measurement from the GNSS/INS buoy systems at the MOSAiC drift site will made an important impact in this context. 
 
Title Texture-sensitive superpixeling and adaptive thresholding for effective segmentation of sea ice floes in high-resolution optical images 
Description A computer algorithm has been developed to improve the retrieval of sea ice floe size from satellite imagery. This algorithm uses texture-sensitive superpixeling and adaptive thresholding to achieve a more effective segmentation of sea ice floes in satellite imagery. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This new method can improve the efficacy of sea ice floe segmentation. This will provide us with a more accurate estimation of sea ice floe size distribution from satellite imagery, which will inform sea ice modelling scientists for the validation or calibration of their models. 
URL https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9271815
 
Description Collaboration with Brown University 
Organisation Brown University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Our research team contributed Dr Horvat's research by providing observational data set to his modelling studies.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Horvat contributed to journal publication. Dr Horvat is a project partner of our NERC MOSAiC project.
Impact The collaboration leads to a joint conference presentation. Wang, Y., Bateson, A., Hwang, B., Aksenov, Y., Horvat, C. (2020) Model-observation comparison of sea ice floe size distribution in the Arctic. AGU Fall Meeting, 2020.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration with Central University of Finance and Economics 
Organisation Central University of Finance and Economics
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We provided our expertise and satellite imagery to the collaborator.
Collaborator Contribution The collaborator contributed her expertise in image processing to develop a computer algorithm and improve sea ice floe retrieval from satellite imagery.
Impact A joint journal publication was published.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Collaboration with DLR 
Organisation German Aerospace Centre (DLR)
Department DLR Munich
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The NERC project contributed Drs Lehner and Rosenthal the opportunity to join the inter-disciplinary workshop (called FSD workshop, directly funded by NE/M00600X/1).
Collaborator Contribution Drs Lehner and Rosenthal contributed to the collaborative workshop by providing the presentation on high-resolution satellite SAR works and participating group discussions regarding future collaborative research involving modelling and observations of sea ice.
Impact The collaborative workshop (called FSD workshop, held on July 6-7, 2015 at the Scottish Association for Marine Science).
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration with Dr Takenobu Toyota 
Organisation Hokkaido University
Country Japan 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have contributed to Dr Toyota in a conference paper and discussion session.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Toyota has contributed to a conference paper and discussion session.
Impact a conference presentation at the IGS sea-ice meeting; discussion session at the SOLAS Open Science Conference
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration with NOC 
Organisation National Oceanography Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The NERC project contributed Drs Aksenov and Hosekova to join the inter-disciplinary workshop (called FSD workshop, directly funded by NE/M00600X/1).
Collaborator Contribution Drs Aksenov and Hosekova contributed to the collaborative workshop by providing the presentation on their sea ice floe size modelling works and participating group discussions regarding future collaborative research involving modelling and observations of sea ice.
Impact The collaborative workshop (called FSD workshop, held on July 6-7, 2015 at the Scottish Association for Marine Science). The collaboration leads to a joint conference presentation. Wang, Y., Bateson, A., Hwang, B., Aksenov, Y., Horvat, C. (2020) Model-observation comparison of sea ice floe size distribution in the Arctic. AGU Fall Meeting, 2020.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration with OSU - Jenny Hutchings 
Organisation Oregon State University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Our research team is providing high-precision ice dynamics buoys to record cm-accuracy ice deformation fields. This data set contributes to Jenny Hutchings research in building multiscale deformation fields. We also provide logistical and scientific contribution to her summer observation during the MOSAiC fieldwork.
Collaborator Contribution Jenny Hutchings from Oregon State University is lead coordinator of sea ice dynamics for MOSAiC program and a project partner of NERC MOSAiC (MOSAiCFSD) project. In December 2018, she visited our research team at Huddersfield and discussed about fieldwork planning, science and logistics. Her team is providing the support for our winter observation of ice dynamics. The success of our research depends on a year-long (continuous) observation, and her team's contribution is crucial to make this happened.
Impact The outcomes of this collaboration include more coordinated efforts and documentation for the collaborative fieldworks. It will grow more in scientific collaboration in the coming years. This collaboration is not multi-disciplinary, the same geophysical research. A joint conference presentation at American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in 2020: Basu, R., Dutta, D., Hwang, B., Hutchings, J.K. (2020) Medium-scale sea ice deformation during autumn-to-winter transition in the Arctic Ocean. AGU Fall Meeting, 2020.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Collaboration with Reading 
Organisation University of Reading
Department Department of Meteorology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The research data generated from the project contributed to the research team at the Univesity of Reading to development new sea ice models.
Collaborator Contribution Their model outputs and expertise contributed to the training of our research staff.
Impact The collaboration leads to a joint conference presentation. Wang, Y., Bateson, A., Hwang, B., Aksenov, Y., Horvat, C. (2020) Model-observation comparison of sea ice floe size distribution in the Arctic. AGU Fall Meeting, 2020.
Start Year 2019
 
Description 2018 UK Sea Ice Group Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I gave a talk on sea ice floe size (algorithms, analysis and physical implication) at the 2018 UK Sea Ice Group Meeting, NOC, UK. The talk sparked the interests of audience and initiated the discussions on key research issues of Marginal Ice Zone process. This led to request for further information in terms of data analysis and interpretation for next year's meeting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description BBC Radio Interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact BBC Radio interview at Leeds about NERC MOSAiC project and current Arctic research. The interview broadcasted throughout Yorkshire.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Featured story in Yorkshire Post newspaper 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact NERC MOSAiC project work was featured in the Yorkshire Post published on 21th September, 2018. The article introduced the Arctic research funded by NERC MOSAiC and explained the historical background behind MOSAiC program and urgent needs for Arctic research on climate change. Although the impact is difficult to assess, this article would be seen by general audience in Yorkshire region and beyond.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Guest speaker at SOLAS Workshop on Remote Sensing for Studying the Ocean-Atmosphere Interface 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I was invited as a guest speaker at the SOLAS (Surface Ocean Lower Atmosphere Study) Workshop on Remote Sensing for Studying the Ocean-Atmosphere Interface, USA. In this talk, I introduced my research on Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ) from the algorithm development to process studies. This talk raised the importance of MIZ process related research and discussions and led to future related activity within SOLAS community: forming a discussion session on MIZ process at the SOLAS Open Science Conference to be held in Japan in April 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2018
URL https://www.confmanager.com/main.cfm?cid=2778&nid=16562
 
Description Public Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This is an online Public Lecture, titled Earth Observation: The way to "see" global environmental change. In this webinar, I presented a wide range of topics on earth observation, including Arctic research. Around 55 online audiences attended and many of them identified as the general public.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description The Climate Change Panel at Hud-IET on Campus 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact I was one of the panelist in the climate change panel was organised by Hud-IET on Campus and IET West Yorkshire Local Network. In the panel discussion meeting, I have provided a scientific view and findings on climate change.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description The University of Huddersfield's Journey to Net-Zero: A Panel Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact This panel event is to inform the University's plan for net-zero. In this panel meeting, I shared Arctic research and the importance of it in the context of climate change issues that we are currently facing. This online panel meeting attracted about 66 people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description featured in Discover magazine 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact NERC MOSAiC funded activity was featured in the annual magazine published by University of Huddersfield. I am not aware of any direct impact, but this story increased the awareness of Arctic research and its importance in understanding of climate change.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://discover.hud.ac.uk