PROJECT 6: Ice Condition Index (ICECON) for the Great Lakes

Project PI’ s: Dr. Tom Ravens and Dr. Andrew Mahoney

Lead Institutions:University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF)

Project Description
In collaboration with the US Coast Guard and others, an ice condition index (ICECON) will be developed for the Great Lakes. The index will be forecasted up to 120 hours into the future making use of circulation and ice models developed by National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL).

Icebreaker activity and its impact on ICECON will also be accounted for in ICECON nowcasts and forecasts. In parallel with the development of ICECON, ADAC will work to identify and adopt a vessel classification system which will define a number of vessel classes and the ice-capability of ships in those classes (in terms of ICECON). The system will help the US Coast Guard provide guidance and decision support to vessels (of a given class) which are planning a given transit.

The overall Work Plan consists of six Tasks. Three of these will be conducted during year three of ADAC starting in July 2016. The development of ICECON for the Great Lakes is intended to be an inclusive and iterative process. Accordingly, there is a need to schedule one or more workshops in which to engage with ice and maritime transportation experts from a range of organizations including (not exclusive): NOAA, the National Ice Center, the US Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Lab, the US Coast Guard, Transport Canada, the Canadian Ice Service, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, and the University of Alaska.