Operational satellite monitoring of icebergs in the Russian Arctic

In July-September 2012, ITC experts "RDC" together with "Atomflot" and other partners conducted an operational satellite monitoring of icebergs in the Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, and connecting them to the Strait of Celebes. Within 45 days was accepted and processed more than 130 detailed satellite imagery and radar images of sea areas, more than 60 images obtained over the Straits of Celebes.

  • Outlet glacier, icebergs off the coast of Novaya Zemlya in the Kara Sea.  Snapshot EROS B, shooting date 3 September 2012 (from) ImageSat, ETC "RDC"
  • Outlet glacier, icebergs off the coast of Novaya Zemlya in the Kara Sea. Snapshot EROS B, shooting date 3 September 2012 (from) ImageSat, ETC "RDC"

One of the largest icebergs companion was recorded August 30, 2012 in the Kara Sea, just west of the Strait of Celebes. Iceberg, reaching 250 m in diameter, was located at coordinates 77 ° 40 ‘N and 99 ° 00 ‘E Another large part of the iceberg above the water with a size of 83 m by 51 m drifting in the period from 20 August to 1 September 2012 in the Kara Sea in the area with the center coordinates 75 ° 26 ‘s.sh 62 ° 48’ E

An unusually large number of icebergs this year it was discovered in the northern part of the Laptev Sea. They participate in the satellite imagery and reports from ships bound for the part of the water area.

The problem of detecting and tracking icebergs in the Russian Arctic are relevant for the intensification of navigation along the Northern Sea Route and the revitalization work on the development of the Arctic shelf. In the Kara Sea as an object of observation were selected outlet glaciers and ice shelves on the east coast of Novaya Zemlya. For shooting of glaciers and sea area used 6 spacecraft with optical and radar equipment of high and medium spatial resolution (0.7 m to 30 m): EROS A, EROS B, RADARSAT-1, RADARSAT-2, SPOT 4 and SPOT 5 .

Satellite images in real time on the ground there were ITC station "RDC" and partners. ETC "RDC" provides an operational order, welcome and together with its partners — the processing of diverse space information. Through the use of a network of receiving stations in the Russian space information came from a minimum of delay at different times and lower cost compared to products from foreign suppliers.

Verification of satellite observations carried out on board ships passing "Atomflot" and other organizations, as well as on the basis of materials of high resolution satellite imagery and data automatic identification of ships (AIS).

With the help of satellite remote sensing systems able to detect and trace the formation of icebergs drift of the largest of them. To predict the direction and speed of drift of icebergs was testing the simulator drift floats "SkanDrifter." Materials imagery collected in the thematic web Geoportal "Icebergs" *, which also has been integrated into the current hydrometeorological information and data on navigation in the control region (according to AIS).

  • Simulation of the iceberg drift in the Kara Sea through the "SkanDrifter."  The simulation results are confirmed by successive shots from outer space.  Used RADARSAT-1 image, recording date August 4, 2012 (from) MDA, ETC "RDC"
  • Simulation of the iceberg drift in the Kara Sea through the "SkanDrifter." The simulation results are confirmed by successive shots from outer space. Used RADARSAT-1 image, recording date August 4, 2012 (from) MDA, ETC "RDC"

In the course of the project have been worked out methods of daily combined survey defined regions of the Arctic satellites with radar and optical equipment of high and medium resolution with rapid processing and delivery of products to consumers. As a result of observations evaluated radiometric parameters and signature of icebergs, get a map of the distribution of icebergs in the Kara Sea and the Straits of Celebes.

The results obtained in 2012 and in 2011 (a pilot project to monitor the icebergs was conducted in August and October of last year) have been used to coordinate production activities carried out by "Atomflot" and other organizations in the Kara Sea and the Straits of Celebes. The experience gained during the implementation of the project may be the basis for the creation of advanced information systems for monitoring shipping and production activities in the Russian Arctic.

* Portal "Icebergs" now works in private. In the future, ETC "RDC" plans to open up access to a portion of non-RS products for research and educational purposes.

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