Polar Oceanography and Sea Ice

The Polar Oceanography and Sea Ice group conducts research on remote sensing and forecast models for sea ice, and develops charting methods and ice forecasts. The group also conducts research on the hydrography of the Arctic Ocean and its changes.

Channel in the archipelago in winter. Fast ice close to the shore doesn't drift or get ridged due to wind forcing and thus gives the best reference of ice thickness for comparison with the ice growth models. (photo: Jonni Lehtiranta)

Our core objective is to produce reliable, up to date and user-relevant information on sea ice. The end users range from those involved in winter navigation and offshore activities to policymakers and the general public in ice-covered sea regions.

To support future ice charting, our group utilises EO data obtained from current earth observation satellites, and develops new methods for future satellites. We are also involved of reanalysis of long satellite data series obtained from past satellites. In addition to measurements, we model the structure, thermodynamics and drift of sea ice. Our research covers most of the ice-covered seas on Earth, but Arctic Oceans, the Baltic Sea and the Caspian Sea are the group's most important geographical research areas.

To validate our products we also operate a number of autonomous instruments, namely drift and ice mass balance buyos which measure sea ice drift and thickness in real time. We also use near real time data from coastal radars to support our research and development.

One of the foci of the oceanographic research is to study the movements and spreading of Atlantic water masses in the Arctic Oceans based on CTD-measurements.