Geophysical Institute LogoMMS Logo

Mapping and Characterization of Recurring Spring Leads and Landfast ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas (AK-03-06, MMS-71707)


Project summary:

The main aim of this project is to map and document changes in the spatial and temporal distribution of recurring lead systems and coastal polynyas off the coast of northern Alaska in the Chukchi Sea between Wainwright and Barrow and the Beaufort Sea between Barrow and the Mackenzie River Delta. Furthermore, the extent and stability of the landfast ice along this stretch of coast will be analysed. Remote sensing imagery, specifically Radarsat Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data, will be analysed for the time period between 1993 and 2003. These data will be compared to older AVHRR imagery archived at the Geophysical Institute's GeoData Center from the 1970's and 1980's. Monthly mean landfast ice edge positions as well as spatial statistics of lead distributions will be derived from these data for the time period of stable, closed sea-ice cover. Longer-term spatio-temporal variations in landfast ice extent and lead patterns will be assessed in the context of large-scale atmospheric and oceanic change. Project products and deliverables include gridded (in ArcGIS format) data (and corresponding metadata) of monthly mean landfast ice edge position and spatial statistics of lead patterns in the study area. A bibliography of published articles and reports of relevance in the context of the project will also be prepared.

Investigator contact information:

Hajo Eicken, Lew Shapiro

Geophysical Institute
University of Alaska Fairbanks
903 Koyukuk Dr., P.O. Box 757320
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320

Phone: 907-474-7280 (HE), -7196 (LS)
Fax: 907-474-7290

Allison Graves Gaylord

Nuna Technologies
PO Box 1483
Homer, AK 99603

Home ph. 907-235-3476
Cell ph. 907-399-1120


This project is funded by the US Minerals Management Service (AK-03-06, MMS-71707). SAR imagery is made available to this project through the support of RADARSAT's Applications Development and Research Opportunity (ADRO) program which is sponsored by the Governments of Canada and the United States, and RADARSAT International Incorporated (RSI), the licensed commercial distributor of RADARSAT data. In addition, the project team would like to acknowledge the staff of the Alaska Satellite Facility and the Institute of the North for special assistance in acquiring archived RADARSAT and AVHRR imagery, as well as the Geographic Information Network of Alaska for developing the communication forum and framework for this web site.

Picture of pack ice

Note: A password is required to access the Internal Project area.