Sea Ice and Remote Sensing

Sea ice and remote sensing group conducts research on sea ice cover, structure and dynamics. Group develops remote sensing methods to study marine and especially sea ice processes. Sea ice and remote sensing group is also responsible for the development of the FMI’s sea ice remote sensing products.

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 develop methods for retrieval of sea ice information, e.g. sea ice thickness and degree of deformation, using multisource data, including satellite data, in-situ data from field campaigns and operational sensors, and sea ice model data. We are also developing new sea ice products and services for various end-users ranging from those involved in winter navigation and offshore activities to policymakers and the general public in ice-covered sea regions. Our research covers most of the ice-covered seas on Earth, but the Baltic Sea and the Arctic Ocean are our most important geographical research areas.

In order to support operational sea ice charting, our group utilises Earth Observation data obtained from current earth satellites (e.g. Copernicus Sentinel satellites), and develops new methods for future satellites. We provide operational sea ice products to the Copernicus Marine Service. We are also involved of reanalysis of long satellite data series obtained from past satellites. We also develop and run sea ice models for the sea ice structure, thicknes and drift.

To develop and validate our sea ice 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.