Written by Mr. Rajiv Khandpur, Chief of the Office of Waterways Management, and Cmdr. Kristen Serumgard, Commander of the International Ice Patrol
The NAIS is a collaborative organization between the Ice Services of the United States and Canada that takes advantage of each members’ strengths to provide seamless ice information to government and commercial maritime interests in the Polar Regions, North American waters, and the Great Lakes.
The NAIS membership includes the Canadian Ice Service, the U.S. National Ice Center, and the International Ice Patrol. The U.S. National Weather Service Alaska Region became the NAIS’s fourth member this year. In addition, the Danish Meteorological Institute also joined NAIS as an observer in 2015. Other organizations participating at this year’s meeting include members from U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, the Coast Guard Research and Development Center, and the University of Tasmania, Australia. NAIS meetings are held annually with the host and location rotating through the three core Ice Services.
The theme for this year’s meeting was “Modernizing Ice Services: Enabling maritime operations, safety, and security in a changing world.” Discussions focused on responding to changing conditions in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, new technologies and research efforts, and ways to improve ice information provided to mariners. Of particular interest for Coast Guard operations was the presentation of an updated Lake Ice prediction algorithm and warning product used in the development of an Ice condition index, designed to forecast ice conditions out to 72 hours. This product will initially aid in operational planning and resourcing for Coast Guard units and mariners that transit on the Great Lakes.
International Ice Patrol and the Canadian Ice Service presented on ongoing efforts to improve satellite iceberg detection for development of operational warning products, highlighted by joint work that supported the transit of Coast Guard Cutter Maple through the Northwest Passage in the summer of 2017. NAIS members held daily coordination meetings to provide Maple with tailored sea ice charts and predicted sea ice movement and developed a novel iceberg warning product from solely space-based reconnaissance – the first of its kind in the 104-year history of the International Ice Patrol.
The next annual NAIS meeting will be hosted by the U.S. National Ice Center in July 2019.
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