J10.6 NWS Alaska Sea Ice Program: Operations, Customer Support & Challenges

Thursday, 26 January 2017: 4:45 PM
Conference Center: Skagit 3 (Washington State Convention Center )
Rebecca Heim, NOAA/NWS, Anchorage, AK; and M. B. Schreck

The National Weather Service's Alaska Sea Ice Program is designed to service customers and partners operating and planning operations within Alaska waters. The Alaska Sea Ice Program offers daily sea ice and sea surface temperature analysis products.  The program also delivers a five day sea ice forecast 3 times each week, provides a 3 month sea ice outlook at the end of each month, and has staff available to respond to sea ice related information inquiries.

These analysis and forecast products are utilized by many entities around the state of Alaska and nationally for safety of navigation and community strategic planning. The list of current customers stem from academia and research institutions, to local state and federal agencies, to resupply barges, to coastal subsistence hunters, to gold dredgers, to fisheries, to the general public.

Due to a longer sea ice free season over recent years, activity in the waters around Alaska has increased. This has led to a rise in decision support services from the Alaska Sea Ice Program. The ASIP is in constant contact with the National Ice Center as well as the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for safety of navigation. In the past, the ASIP provided briefings to the USCG when in support of search and rescue efforts. Currently, not only does that support remain, but our team is also briefing on sea ice outlooks into the next few months. As traffic in the Arctic increases, the ASIP will be called upon to provide more and more services on varying time scales to meet customer needs.

This talk will address the many facets of the current Alaska Sea Ice Program as well as delve into what we see as the future of the ASIP.

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