Ice reconnaissance and forecasts in Storfjorden, Svalbard.

Type: Report
Series: RO 8
Author: Bertil Håkansson


Ice reconaissance using almost daily satellite data from NOAA-AVHRR covering Storfjorden, Svalbard was performed by the SMHI during May to July 1987. This operational project aimed at forecasting the first possible date when a vessel was able to land at Haketangen on the eastern coast of Sörkappland, Spitsbergen. The sea ice forecasts were based on available satellite data and medium time (10 days) weather forecasts delivered  from ECMRF in Reading, England. In addition climatological data were also used. The forecasts were delivered to the Norwegian-Swedish company POLARGAS which was going to explore the resources of natural gas at Haketangen.
The forecasts were expressed by the probability of a given ice concentration to occur 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 days ahead. It was difficult to guarantee the accuracy of the forecasts but they gave reasonably well the trend in the ice concentration decrease. The 20 day forecast had probabilities of 70 % that the ice concentration should be 30% or less around June 22. From satellite data it was found that the ice concentration was 30% on this date and almost 0% on June 28.