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Second Session


Tenth Session
Hamburg, Germany, 15-17 April 2004


JCOMM Meeting Report No. 28







Hamburg, Germany 15-17 April 2004


JCOMM Meeting Report No. 28


The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariats of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (of UNESCO), and the World Meteorological Organization concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


Report 1
Annex I - List of Participants 17

Annex II - Agenda 19
Annex III - ETSI Chairman Report 20
Annex IV - Nomenclature OMM des Glaces en Mer (French version) 29
Annex V - OMM Nomenclatura Hielo Marino (Spanish version) 42
Annex VI - WMO Sea Ice Nomenclature (updated version) 56
Annex VII - WMO Glossary on Sea Ice Cover (new version) 61
Annex VIII - Ice Chart Colour Code Standard 74
Annex IX - Property Changes of First-year Ice and Old Ice during Summer Melt 86
Annex X - Data Collection Program on Ice Regimes 135
Annex XI - Work Plan of the Expert Team on Sea Ice 145
Annex XII - Work Plan of the Steering Group for the Global Digital Sea Ice Data 150
Annex XIII - Register Structure and Registration Process for an IHO Object Register 153
List of Acronyms and Other Abbreviations 164
Group Photo 166
1. Opening of the session
1.1 Opening

      1. The second session of the Joint WMO/IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) Expert Team on Sea Ice (ETSI) and the tenth session of the Steering Group for the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (GDSIDB) were opened at 09:30 hours on Thursday, 15 April 2004, in the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) by Dr Vasily Smolyanitsky, chairman of the ETSI. Dr Smolyanitsky welcomed participants and called on Dr Klaus Strübing to address the meeting on behalf of the Director of the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency. Dr K. Strübing wished the participants a pleasant stay in Hamburg along with fruitful working days.

1.1.2 On behalf of the Secretary-General of WMO, Mr Michel Jarraud, and the Executive Secretary IOC, Dr P. Bernal, the Secretariat representative also welcomed participants to the meeting. He expressed the very sincere appreciation of WMO and IOC to the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency and especially to the local organizer of the meeting, Mr K.Strübing, for hosting this meeting and for providing friendly and stimulating working conditions for the participants. The Secretariat representative then outlined the objectives and importance of the meeting. He assured participants of the full support of the Secretariat, both during the meeting and in the future, and he concluded by wishing all participants very fruitful deliberations in this important meeting.

1.1.3 The list of participants in the meeting is given in Annex I.
1.2 Adoption of the agenda
1.2.1 The meeting adopted the agenda for the sessions on the basis of the corrected provisional agenda prepared by the Secretariat. This agenda is given in Annex II.
1.3 Working arrangements
1.3.1 The meeting agreed its hours of work and other practical session arrangements. The documentation for the meeting was introduced by the Secretariat.

2.1 Report by the Chairman of the ETSI
2.1.1 The meeting noted with interest and appreciation a report (Annex III) by the chairman of the Expert Team on Sea Ice (ETSI), regarding the present status and effectiveness of its activities during the intersessional period since the last meeting (Buenos Aires, October 2002), and plans for the future. This report outlined the main activities so far within the overall team as well as the main results of the ETSI first session.
2.1.2 The meeting noted that substantial progress had been made in the implementation of the previous work plan, which includes revision of the current version of the WMO Sea Ice Nomenclature with a Glossary on Sea Ice Cover (WMO-No. 259, TP.145, 1970) in English, French, Russian and Spanish to be used in an electronic form, development of an updated version of that document, new standards for sea ice charts, including colour coding, new formats for operational and historical sea ice mapped data exchange, revision of the WMO publication Sea Ice Information Services in the World (WMO-No.574, 2000) and productive collaboration with the International Ice Charting Working Group (IICWG) and the Baltic Sea Ice Meeting (BSIM).
2.1.3 The meeting was informed that the International Meeting “Cooperation for the International Polar Year 2007–2008 (IPY 2007/2008) was held at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in St Petersburg, 22-23 January 2004. Forty experts including representatives of the international organizations and programmes and scientists from national polar institutes participated in the meeting.
2.1.4 The Meeting noted with appreciation that ETSI, in collaboration with IICWG, provided draft requirements for sea ice observations as a part of a White Paper on “An International Collaborative Effort Towards Automated Sea Ice Chart Production”, attached in Annex III of the Chairman’s report.
2.2 Reports by the members of ETSI
2.2.1 The session reviewed ETSI member's reports from Argentina, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Russia, Sweden, UK and USA.
Report from the USA National Ice Center
2.2.2 Mr M. Seymour provided information on sea ice activities in the USA carried out by the National Ice Center (NIC). In that context, the session was informed that the NIC has routinely produced maps of sea ice conditions since 1952. Using visible and infrared (NOAA AVHRR and DMSP OLS), SAR (Radarsat), scatterometer (QuikScat) and passive microwave (DMSP SSM/I) imagery, bi-weekly charts are produced of all ice covered regions of the Arctic and Antarctic, and at least weekly for all ice covered seas continuous to the United States and twice weekly charts of the Alaskan and Great Lakes regions. These charts are made available free on the web ( Tailored support is also available to qualified users, to include annotated imagery support, upon request.
2.2.3 The session noted with appreciation that in the intersessional period, NIC provided tailored support to a number of national and international users. Progress was made on the development of a computer based training system for ice analysis, working with the Canadian Ice Service and Noetix Corp. Modules currently in production include Remote Sensing (SSM/I), Geography and Climatology. Proposed future modules include WMO Ice Code, Interactive Ice Analysis and Ice Forecasting.
2.2.4 The meeting was informed that NIC continued to refine efforts into developing a more robust plan for continuity of operations to specifically address homeland security threats and catastrophic facilities and communications failures. The NIC has made several provisions for creation of ice products and delivery of services from an off-site location, and Radarsat emergency ordering procedures were solidified.
2.2.5 During the intersessional period, the NIC implemented the SSM/I NASA Team 2 algorithm for operational use and has fully integrated QuikScat scatterometer imagery into the ice analysis process. The NIC is now investigating the use of SEAWINDS passive microwave data and is awaiting data from Cryosat and ALOS data in 2004.
2.2.6 The meeting noted that much progress was related to development of a new Sea Ice Mapping System (SIMS). The NIC has fully integrated the SIPAS ice analysis system into the operations environment. A new dissemination system and World Wide Web page featuring the ability for users to define their own shape-file based analysis charts is being rolled out during the spring of 2004.
2.2.7 The meeting noted with interest and appreciation the information on the Polar Ice Prediction System (PIPS 3.0), which will be based on a global ocean model and a sea ice model (C-ICE) developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory. PIPS 3.0 will use data assimilation routines developed at the Naval Postgraduate School. Output products will include ice drift, concentration, stage of development and a prediction of convergence and divergence areas within the pack ice.
Report of the Canadian Ice Service
2.2.8 Mr J.Falkingham presented information on the Canadian Ice Service (CIS) activities. The meeting noted with interest that CIS provides information about floating ice in the major navigable waters of the Canadian economic zone for the present, the future and the past. This information is intended to meet two main objectives: to ensure the safety of Canadians, their property and their environment by warning them of hazardous ice conditions; and to provide present and future generations of Canadians with a knowledge of their ice environment sufficient to support environmental science and the development of informed policies. The CIS works with the international community to foster a global awareness of floating ice for operational and scientific purposes.
2.2.9 Throughout the intersessional period, the CIS provided operational ice information on a 7-day-a-week basis throughout the year. In 2003, the CIS began issuing ice charts in the new colour codes being proposed to JCOMM for adoption as the international standard.
2.2.10 The meeting noted that the CIS continued to deliver a service to provide Arctic communities with information regarding the position and condition of local "floe edges" which are important hunting and social gathering places. The CIS also monitors the ice cover on 134 inland lakes using satellite data for numerical weather prediction. The Canadian Meteorological Center reports that this information has made a noticeable improvement in weather forecasts over Canada.
2.2.11 The meeting was informed that the CIS relies on a mix of satellite, aircraft and surface observations. It was noted that Canada is one the last countries to operate air reconnaissance routinely. The most important single data source is the Radarsat satellite from which about 4000 images are acquired annually; AVHRR optical imagery from US satellites is of almost equal importance despite their vulnerability to cloud cover; MODIS and OLS provide additional optical information; SSM-I and QuikSCAT data provide useful background information but have limited resolution.
2.2.12 Mr Falkingham then informed that the CIS ice reconnaissance aircraft is an important source of tactical data in direct support of navigation as well as "ground truth" for satellite data. However, the future of the programme is in some doubt because of its high cost. The Side-Looking Airborne Radar (real aperture) that the aircraft has regularly used was not operated during the winter of 2003-04 because it was too expensive to maintain. A decision on the future of the aircraft is to be made in the very near future along with a decision to replace the SLAR with a modern radar.
2.2.13 The meeting noted that substantial progress had been made in training in the science of ice analysis and forecasting. CIS has continued to develop its "Ice University" concept in which experts in various topics deliver ½ day modules on various science topics for delivery to all analysis and forecasting staff. CIS is in the process of hiring two new ice forecasters and six new Ice Service Specialists to fill vacancies and in anticipation of impending retirements
2.2.14 Over the intersessional period, CIS has continued assessing the capabilities and limitations of space-borne SAR for detecting icebergs as part of a national iceberg monitoring programme. In preparation for the availability of data from advanced SAR satellites the CIS has been involved in a number of projects focused on assessing the potential and application of multiple polarization and polarimetric SAR data for operational sea ice monitoring. In March of 2003 and February of 2004, supported by funding from the CSA, the CIS carried out field programmes focused on field validation airborne polarimetric data (2003) and Alternating Polarization ENVISAT ASAR data (2004).
2.2.15 In September 2003, the first Canadian icebreaker dedicated to scientific activities embarked on its first mission. The CCGS Amundsen departed Quebec City and transited the Northwest Passage to conduct oceanographic studies in the Southern Beaufort Sea as part of the Canadian Arctic Shelf Exchange Study (CASES). The ship froze into the ice in Amundsen Gulf and is currently overwintering. Science teams conducting a wide variety of experiments are cycled through the ship about every six weeks. CCGS Amundsen plans to break out the ice in May 2004 and conduct more oceanographic work during the summer before returning to Quebec.
2.2.15 The meeting noted with considerable interest CIS international activities in the field of sea ice development, including the close long-standing collaboration between the CIS and the US NIC. The ice information programme for the Great Lakes is now operated jointly by the two services. It is planned to create a North American Ice Service that will eventually encompass integrated databases, joint product preparation and a single window of access to North American ice information products. Starting in 2004, the NIC charts for the Canadian Arctic will be "cut and paste" directly from the CIS charts for the same area. This will allow NIC analysis to spend more time on other parts of the world.
Report of the Japan Meteorological Agency
2.2.16 the meeting considered a report presented by V. Smolyanitsky, on behalf of Mr T.Matsumoto, on sea ice activities provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). JMA provides a close analysis and monitoring of sea ice in the Sea of Okhotsk twice per week from November to July. The global sea ice analysis is performed automatically using DMSP/SSM/I data; results of analysis from 2003/2004are planned to feed JMA`s Numerical Weather Prediction and Climate Prediction Models. Other satellite data include GMS, NOAA (AVHRR, AMSU-B), QuikSCAT, RADARSAT (1-2 times per week since March 2003) and Aqua/AMSR-E (daily since November 2003). In addition, JMA continues to acquire observations data and charts from Japan Coast Guard and Japan Self-Defence Forces and coastal RADAR data from Hkkaido University. Main operational products include ice conditions charts in the Sea of Okhotsk issued daily from December to May and one-week numerical prediction ice forecast charts for the Southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk and neighbouring sea. The operational products have been available at NEAR-GOOS Regional Real Time Data Base since December 2003.
Report from the Argentinean Naval Hydrographic Service
2.2.17 The representative of Argentina with the ETSI, Mr M.Picasso, from the Naval Hydrographic Service introduced a report on sea ice activities in Antarctic areas. It was considered that the Glaciological Division of the Argentine Navy Meteorological Service (SMARA), at the Naval Hydrographic Service (SHN), is the head office responsible for operational sea ice support in the Southern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, including Antarctic seas from 00 to 130 W. All activities are focused mainly to operational support and planning information on icebergs and sea ice conditions in these areas.
2.2.18 The session considered that sea ice and iceberg observations from Argentinian coastal stations and ships are made through code messages as a permanent cooperative effort between SMARA’s Glaciological Division and the Argentinian National Meteorological Service. The observational frequency under normal conditions is twice a week for coastal stations during freezing months and twice a week during melting season. The observations from ships are made every six hours. Messages are transmitted in real time to the National Ice Center (NIC) and afterwards sent to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) after being validated through sanity (characters and physical parameters) checks. Archives of historic observations are available through SMARA and through the SHN Argentine Centre of Oceanografic Data (CEADO, acronym for the Spanish letters).
2.2.19 M. Picasso informed the session that the SMARA continued the Antarctic Navigation Course to instruct the Argentinian Antarctic personnel and professional sailors on sea ice and icebergs recognizance. By now 559 observers from different Argentinian institutions attended the course.
2.2.20 Participants were informed that the Spanish version of the WMO Sea Ice Nomenclature was revised and submitted to the session for adoption to be published by WMO Secretariat as an official document.
Report from the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute
2.2.21 The meeting noted with interest Mr Grafström's report, which was presented on his behalf by K. Strübing, regarding the present and future status of Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) development of sea ice activities in the Baltic Sea area. He stressed that SMHI is responsible for mapping and forecasting of sea ice and surface temperature in the Baltic region. Daily ice charts have been produced since 1957 during wintertime, the approximate period being 20 November – 20 May. Sea surface temperature charts are produced twice a week also during the mentioned part of the year. The main user of operational ice information is the Swedish Maritime Administration, Icebreaking Department. Daily ice charts and ice forecasts up to 10 days ahead are transmitted to icebreakers. Other users of ice charts are merchant vessels, shipping agencies, shipbrokers and pilot stations.
2.2.22 The main data source is remote sensing from DSMP/NOAA satellites and RADARSAT. Additional information on ice concentration/thickness and floe size are received in real time from icebreakers, vessels, and pilot stations and ice observers along the coast. The meeting noted with appreciation that according to the WMO request, SMHI developed broadcasting sea ice reports for the Baltic area via the NAVTEX system transmission stations and can be received onboard all suitably equipped vessels.
2.2.23 The SMHI is involved in several projects and groups, with focus on improving services and products by means of international cooperation, i.e. participating in groups such as the International Sea Ice Working Group and the Baltic Sea Ice Meeting. The institute currently participates in sea ice-related programmes financed by the European Union (IRIS), by EUMESAT (OSI-SAF, Ocean and Sea Ice Satellite Application Facility) and by ESA (ICEMON). Furthermore, SMHI is involved in the HIROMB cooperation, offering expertise and hosting computer facilities for an operational, high-resolution ocean model for the Baltic Sea and surrounding waters.
Report from the Icelandic Meteorological Office
2.2.24 The expert from the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) Dr Jakobsson presented information on IMO sea ice activities in areas of the Icelandic waters. The meeting noted with interest that main sea ice activities at IMO concentrate on providing service to users operating in waters around Iceland.
2.2.25 The session was informed that sea ice information was received from trawlers, weather observers and from the Icelandic Coast Guard which provided detailed ice charts resulting from sea ice reconnaissance flights along the ice edge area in the Denmark Strait and the Iceland Sea and flights closer to the land during times of extensive sea ice with some ice reaching into bays and fjords. In the future, some limited use can be made of satellite imagery received by APT antenna at IMO.
2.2.26 The meeting noted further that all information output is provided to users at sea by the radio, NAVTEX, and IMO Web site. Available information on sea ice is published in annual reports. Gaps in the publication series have been filled thus making the series continuous from 1968 to 1996.
2.2.27 The meeting was informed that the IMO participated in the European science project Integrated Weather, Sea Ice and Ocean Service System (IWICOS), which was completed in the beginning of 2003. Useful experiments of information exchange between ships in Icelandic waters and IMO were performed. The IMO also participated in the EUMETSAT project, directed by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. The project had started the development of Satellite Application Facilities (SAF) as being distributed as part of its Application Ground Segment, to process the data from its future satellites, namely MSG and EPS-METOP. The Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs together with Dr Thor Eduard Jakobsson established a working group to study various aspects of traffic increase in the Arctic and in particular along the Northern Sea Route. It has been pointed out that possibilities as well as environmental concerns following a future opening of Arctic Sea Routes in the coming decades should be considered by Icelandic authorities, due to the geographical location of the country in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Report from the Danish Meteorological Institute
2.2.28 The representative of Denmark with the ETSI, Dr H. Andersen, submitted a report to the meeting and informed that the purpose of the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) and Greenland Ice Service (GIS) is to aid navigation and provide tactical and strategic support to the shipping community. The service provided by DMI and GIS has been subject to substantial changes over the past two years. Images supplied by the two SAR satellite platforms, e.g. RADARSAT and ENVISAT, now constitute the most important source of information for the ice service production of navigational ice charts. A robust and fully automatic ingest and processing system has been implemented to make available SAR images from RADARSAT and ENVISAT in near real time for the ice analysts.
2.2.29 The meeting noted with appreciation information on research programmes developed by DMI. Research and quality assurance projects have been conducted to optimize the use of SAR data and to increase customer satisfaction. Combined use of satellite observations and oceanographic models would certainly support this goal. To investigate this possibility the DMI has been running and testing an experimental sea ice drift model for the Cape Farewell area for the last three years.
2.2.30 The DMI is deeply involved in the international cooperation with the aim of improving cooperation, services and products. It is actively involved in the IICWG, JCOMM ETSI, several sea ice related research programmes, financed by the European 5th framework programme and in Satellite Application Facilities, financed through EUMETSAT.
2.2.31 The session noted that since the introduction of SAR satellite based ice charting in 1999 training of ice analysts has been improved and adjusted to the specific needs of the Greenland Ice Service. A significant amount of training material has been compiled and valuable material has been made available by other ice services through international cooperation. This has helped to make the training more effective and to decrease the amount of time needed to perform the training. As a consequence, the Greenland Ice Service has been able to support and train personnel from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute to enable them to use SAR imagery for ice charting around Svalbard.
Report from Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie
2.2.32 The session reviewed the report submitted by Mr Klaus Strübing.on sea ice activities in Germany and noted with interest that the sea ice service at the Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH) is mainly responsible for ice observations in German waters and regular reporting on and mapping the ice conditions in the area of the Baltic Sea and the coastal areas of the eastern North Sea. Daily ice reports and ice charts have been produced during the winter ice season, i.e. approximately from the end of November to the end of May. Weekly sea surface temperature charts for the North and Baltic Seas are provided by another BSH unit during the whole year. The ice observations from the German coast are stored in a special ice data bank, and allow statistical evaluation of the development of ice conditions with a time series of more than 100 years long. An ice chart data bank covers the ice conditions of the sea area in the region of the western Baltic Sea.
2.2.33 The BSH routinely uses an in-house developed operational model system to support maritime shipping, and to monitor and study the marine environment. The model system, which has been operated for quite a number of years now, comprises several computer programmes producing data in a daily operational programme routine without any manual intervention.
2.2.34 The session noted with appreciation that the Baltic Sea Ice Services have a long-standing collaboration. Its improvement is a continuous process within the activities of the Baltic Sea ice Meeting (BSIM), which has a more than 75 years tradition. With respect to modern communication links the intention is to more and more harmonize products in order to save manpower and reduce the duplication of effort (details are presented in the BSIM Report). GIS has been active in the International Ice Charting Working Group that has now held four annual meetings, actively contributing to several scientific and operational action items.
Report from the Chinese National Marine Environment Forecast Centre
2.2.35 The meeting was informed on sea ice major development, including the Chinese Arctic expeditions in 2002-2004 operated by the National Marine Environment Forecast Center (NMEFC). Information was presented by V.Smolyanitsky, on behalf of representative from China. It was considered with interest that operational sea ice forecasts were developed with using of the PIC model for option ice service, MCC method for the Bohai Sea and monitoring sea ice conditions with help of MODIS images and data from the First Oceanic Satellite HY-1A.
2.2.36 The meeting noted with interest that the first oceanic satellite HY-1 was launched successfully in May 2002, which is an experimental operational one with a design life of 2 years. The sea ice images retrieved from HY-1A were applied on monitoring and numerical forecasting at the Bohai Sea during the winters of 2002 and 2003. The sea ice retrieve system for the HY-1A has been constructed in NMEFC. It receives the 1B data from the satellite and outputs sea ice images and various kinds of numeric products including ice concentration, ice thickness and ice edge.
Report from the Russian Ice Service
2.2.37 The information on the developments of operational sea ice activities of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (Russia) was presented by V. Smolyanitsky. The meeting noted that sea-ice information services in Russia are provided with ice information by the centre at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in St Petersburg (AARI), as well as by the Hydro-Meteorological Centre in Moscow (Hydrometcentre) and regional hydrometeorological offices in the Arctic, Far East and Baltic countries. AARI provides services mainly for shipping, coastal and harbour activities within the Northern Sea Route, for the Central Arctic Basin and Arctic seas as well as for the seas with the seasonal ice cover and for Antarctic areas.
2.2.38 The meeting considered that Russian operational centres continue extensive use of all available real-time and delayed mode visual and IR imagery from NOAA, METEOR and Terra/Aqua satellites thus minimizing gaps in coverage of frequently obscured by clouds polar regions. Daily ice observations on basic sea ice parameters from the coastal weather polar stations of Roshydromet along with routine icebreakers` reports and WMO GTS GRID and GRIB data complement satellite imagery and serve as ground real information. In cases of support for commercial activities in shelf zones of the Arctic and Far East seas and extreme cases operational SAR data from Radarsat is commercially acquired and included into data flow. Ground-truth and remotely sensed data are directly interpreted into various scale ice charts and feed ice blocks of coupled numerical models. Ice products are issued in various formats including plain language, WMO SIGRID code, colour code and ESRI vector shape file format. Starting from 2003 a variety of marine meteorological products is also available within the Russian Unified System Information on the World Ocean Conditions (ECIMO).
2.2.39 Participants of the meeting noted with interest that in 2003-2004 AARI provided logistics for a renewed break activity “North Pole 32” drifting station (active during 16.04.2003-6.03.2004). A special web page ( provided online access to daily meteorological and ice drift data from the station. Logistics for the next drifting station “North Pole – 33” is currently under development.
Report from the British Antarctic Surway
2.2.40 The meeting noted with interest and appreciation the report presented by a new ETSI member, Dr J. Shanklin, on sea ice activities operated in the United Kingdom. Dr Shanklin informed that the UK operates three ice-strengthened vessels in Antarctic waters, mostly in the Southern Ocean, Bellingshausen Sea and Weddell Sea. From time to time these may also work in the Arctic.
2.2.41 The two Royal Research Ships make simple observations of sea-ice and icebergs during their voyages. Charts of pack ice encountered on the voyage are prepared and these are stored in the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) archives in Cambridge. Reports of icebergs are made for the Norwegian iceberg-monitoring programme. Rothera station makes a daily sea ice observation and elements of this are reported as an ICE group in synoptic format at 18:00 UT. Rothera and Halley stations make occasional reports in ICEAN code to the US NIC. There is an automatic digital camera at Signy station to record the development of sea ice in the local area for biological studies.
2.2.42 In the light of operational support, it was mentioned that several sea-ice products are supplied to the BAS ships by email from Cambridge. These include ice charts from the US NIC, ice charts from the US FNMOC and ice charts from the German BSH. Real time imagery is provided by HRPT receivers on board the ships and at Rothera station in Antarctica. MODIS images may also be accessed over the Internet. The BAS Twin Otter aircraft are used when required as spotter planes to assess routes through sea-ice and to locate possible areas for working cargo. From 2005 the ships should be able to access products directly on the Internet.
2.2.43 BAS is working on improved representation of sea-ice in the Hadley Centre climate model. Other groups in BAS are interested in both current and archival sea ice observations in connection with studies of atmospheric chemistry and paleo ice extent. In the former context knowledge about the presence of frost flowers is important. This term appears to be absent in the WMO nomenclature. In future research groups will be involved in studies using the Cryosat satellite. One of the BAS aircraft will be instrumented for airborne study of sea-ice.
2.2.44 The meeting noted all information presented by the ETSI members with considerable interest, and agreed that they provided an excellent framework and overall objectives for its own work during the intersessional period.
2.3 Report of the BSIS
2.3.1 The meeting further reviewed the activities of the Baltic Sea Ice System (BSIS) submitted by its chairman, Mr K. Strübing. It was noted that eleven Baltic countries (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden) within the BSIS successfully cooperate in compilation and relay to end-users of sea ice information, in maintaining common ice terminology and joint ice model to develop an integrated sea ice information and navigation support system.
2.3.2 K. Strübing informed the meeting that the last BSIM-21 session was hosted by the Finish Institute of Marine Research, from 9 to 13 June 2003 in Helsinki. Experts representing national sea-ice and icebreaking services of all countries bordering the Baltic Sea, together with the Netherlands, and WMO representative, attended. National Ice Services of these countries have been providing ice information for many years, with the first such meeting taking place in 1925.
2.3.3 The main topics for discussion during the ETSI session included problems related to the development of colour standards for regional ice charts, formats and codes for operational ice-data exchange, digital sea-ice data banks, remote-sensing methods, and international operational activities coordinated by a number of different WMO bodies, such as the JCOMM ETSI, The Steering Group for the GDSIDB, and International Arctic and Antarctic Buoy Programmes, which are Action Groups of the DBCP Panel.
2.3.4 The meeting reviewed seasonal ice cover, which can extend over the whole region of the Baltic Sea and the South-Eastern North Sea, intensive shipping activities of up to 30,000 vessels during an ice season, and economic requirements requiring professional ice information and icebreaker services for the whole region.
2.3.5 The meeting was informed that ice observations were performed and exchanged daily via the GTS among all services, according to the standards of the Baltic Sea Ice Code (from 1980). Products are available on the Internet. Up to now, close bilateral cooperation between Finland and Sweden, Finland and Russia, Denmark and Germany, Germany and the Netherlands has been improving services for the public. A joint Web-page for the BSIS was developed and established as an independent domain (
2.4 Report of the IICWG
2.4.1 The representative of the International Ice Charting Working Group (IICWG) Mr P.Seymour submitted a report on its activities, which includes development of: data and product exchange, terminology, data and mapping standards, operations and customer support, training, applied science, research and development. It was recognized that there is value in "cooperative activities in operational ice services supporting maritime navigation." The session noted some results of the IICWG activities developed during the intersessional period, since the 4th meeting of the group, which was held at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) in St Petersburg, Russia from 7-11 April 2003. The major themes and discussion areas from the working group were:
Session on Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) Project Introduction;
Session on ECDIS - Practical results in sea ice and meteorological layers integration with navigation charts and restrictions in current version of S-57 format;
Demonstrations from ECDIS vendors;
Icebreaker Captains Session: Informational report from NW ROSHYDROMET on Administration on ice practices in Baltic waters during winter 2002/2003;

  1. Greetings from the Northern Sea Route Administration (Moscow) and St Petersburg port authority.

2.4.2 The next meeting will be held in April 2004 in Hamburg, Germany, the week after this meeting.

2.4.3 The session appreciated the important work being undertaken by regional and international bodies, such as the BSIM and the IICWG. It agreed that future collaboration should be continued between the ETSI and these groups, and requested the chairperson of the ETSI and the Secretariats to arrange for such collaboration, as appropriate. (Action: Chairmen ETSI, BSIM, IICWG; Secretariat)
2.5 WMO Sea ice documents and publications
Sea ice nomenclature
2.5.1 The session reviewed and commented on a draft of a new French (Annex IV) and Spanish (Annex V) versions of the WMO Sea Ice Nomenclature prepared by experts from Canada and Argentina. It was recommended to implement appropriate changes in the nomenclature in order to use it as official French and Spanish versions of the WMO document on sea ice symbols and glossary. (Action: Secretariat, Chairman)
2.5.2 The meeting agreed that a new term "median ice edge" is be included in the WMO Sea Ice Nomenclature as Term "Median ice edge: Median (50% occurrence) position of the ice edge in any period based on a sufficient number of observations", so that Term be extended by the word "median" and the WMO number of term "Fast-ice edge" be changed to (Action: Chairman, Secretariat)
2.5.3 The session discussed the proposal from Mr J. Shanklin to include a new definition on "frost flowers", which coincides with the term of the Russian national Nomenclature, and proposed at CMM in 1980. It was agreed that this term be included in the updated version of the Nomenclature. (Action: Chairman)
2.5.4 Dr V. Smolyanitsky presented a draft English/French/Russian/Spanish electronic version of the WMO Sea Ice Nomenclature, which is located on Internet at GDSIDB AARI web-site ( Developed software makes it possible for a user to browse ice terms in various ways, including alphabetical order, subject etc. The meeting recommended to submit the database and software to the Secretariat to be approved. (Action: Chairman, Secretariat)
2.5.5 The session noted with appreciation a draft of a new updated version of the WMO Sea Ice Nomenclature (Annex VI) with a new extended version of the WMO glossary on sea ice cover (Annex VII), prepared by experts from the AARI. The proposed versions will be used as a source to revise and update the WMO publication No. 259. The following actions were proposed for implementing the revision of the document:

  1. to prepare an electronic version of the documents to facilitate comparison of the old and new documents (Action: AARI, May 2004);

  1. to conduct a review of the nomenclature section by section by correspondence (Action: Members, Chairman);

  1. to submit a report on the progress of the review to JCOMM-II (Action: Chairman, Secretariat, JCOMM-II);

  1. to continue development for discussion in a final form at ETSI-III (Action: Chairman, Members, and ETSI-III).

2.5.6 It is intended that the final version of the Nomenclature be an ETSI contribution to the IPY.

2.5.7 It was agreed that ETSI would also start to work on a new version of the Illustrated Glossary of Sea Ice Terms as part of the updated Nomenclature. (Action: Chairman, Members, ASAP)
2.5.8 The Meeting also proposed to revise (once per year) WMO publication No. 547 "Sea-Ice Information in the World" to be published in electronic form in the JCOMM Technical Report Series. (Action: Chairman, Members, Secretariat)
Colour standard for ice charts
2.5.9 The meeting was presented with the information on a final version of the Ice Chart Colour Code Standard to be used as an international code.(Annex VIII)
2.5.10 The meeting noted that proposals for colour coding of ice charts have been discussed since the 1950s but these proposals were used only by a few national sea ice services. However, the recent widespread use of electronic products and navigational information systems requires ice services to change their approach. The IICWG experts in collaboration with ETSI succeeded in preparation of a colour standard which includes, according to the decisions of the third IICWG meeting, two mutually exclusive separate colour codes, one based on a total concentration and another based on a stage of development. Proposed codes are complementary to the existing WMO black and white ice symbols and are flexible in use. Experts from ice services participating in IICWG since 2002 started to produce ice charts according to the proposed standard. In 2003 IICWG and ETSI experts finalized this standard and submitted it to the WMO Secretariat for publication before the session.
Ice decay/stages of melting
2.5.11 The session reviewed the comprehensive report prepared by experts from Canada on the results of research, undertaken by the Canadian Ice Service experts, under the Arctic Sea Ice Shipping System (AIRSS), to identify ice decay and the associated strength of the ice with the help of radar backscatter (Annexes IX, X ). Over the past intersessional period, it was determined that radar alone cannot provide unambiguous indications of the strength of the ice. However, field experiments have shown that there is a consistent relationship between the temperature of the ice and the state of surface melting and the internal strength of the ice.
2.5.12 The meeting noted with appreciation that the following papers were prepared by the experts from Canada in response to the mentioned problems:

  1. M. Johnston, R. Frederking and G. Timco; Property Changes of First Year Ice and Old Ice during Summer Melt; National Research Council of Canada Technical Report HYD-TR-010; March 2003.

  1. G.W. Timco et al.; Data Collection Program on Ice Regimes; National Research Council of Canada; March 2003.

2.5.13 On the basis of this and ongoing research, amendments to the nomenclature for coding sea ice are being developed. It was noted that initial review of the draft new WMO Sea Ice Nomenclature proposed by A. Bushuev indicates (Agenda item 2.5.5) that there is sufficient scope within the proposed nomenclature to incorporate the Canadian work.

2.5.14 The CIS proposed that this work on Ice Decay/Stages of Melting be dropped as a separate work topic for future ETSI meetings, and be incorporated into the work on the new Sea Ice Nomenclature (Action: Chairman, J. Falkingham).
Status of formats for operational and historical sea ice data exchange
2.5.15 The meeting noted with appreciation that a new format for operational and historical sea ice data exchange was finalized by IICWG experts in close cooperation with ETSI. During 2003, the new format was successfully tested and applied for archival purposes by the GDSIDB centre at NSIDC. The document was submitted to the WMO Secretariat the end of 2003 and is now in the process of printed.
2.6 ETSI future activities and working plan for the next intersessional period
2.6.1 The session was introduced to a document containing a detailed work plan for the Expert Team on Sea Ice for the next intersessional period. The meeting reviewed, corrected and adopted this plan. The meeting noted that ETSI future tasks will include review and advice on scientific, technical and operational aspects of sea ice observations and forecasting, coordination of service development, training and cooperation with international programmes. The final version of the agreed strategy and work plan are reproduced in Annex XI.
2.6.2 Recognizing the likelihood of increased economic activities in the Arctic in the future, the ETSI underlines the importance of sea ice services, standards, observations and data. In this respect, the scope of ETSI activities may expand in the future. Some of aspects of future ETSI activities were also discussed and adopted under item 4.
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