Scientists from around the world share knowledge about sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic

The Meteorological Institute is hosting this year's three-day workshop on sea ice and sea ice forecasting, with contribution from The Nansen Legacy.

By: Kristin Rosnes Holte, MET Norway 

Roar Skålin, director of the Meteorological Institute (MET), is proud that the institute hosts the workshop, the 11th in a series that is linked to the International Ice Charting Working Group (IICWG).

“The seriousness of the ever-decreasing sea ice in both the Arctic and Antarctic shows how important it is that more minds can think wise thoughts together. We must provide actors in the polar regions the best possible information about how sea ice is developing, at both short and long range. This is important for planning activities, and understanding and adapting to climate change in the areas with sea ice. By being the organizer of this workshop, we are also strengthening MET’s role internationally” 

Representing much of the world

Thomas Lavergne leads the committee from the Meteorological Institute that prepared for the approximately one hundred participants who will arrive at Forskningsparken on Blindern, where the workshop takes place. He says that most of the researchers come from Norway, Europe, and North America, but there are also participants from Australia, South Africa and Brazil.

“The interest in the topic of sea ice and sea ice forecasting is high, and that’s good. It’s difficult to create good forecasts for how sea ice moves, freezes and melts, a few days or months in advance. In this workshop, we will focus precisely on how we can achieve better sea ice forecasts, for example, by better use of satellite observations. We must work together to achieve this”

– Is there a particular reason why MET Norway are hosting this year, Thomas?

“As a researcher on these topics for almost 15 years, I, along with other colleagues at MET, have participated in several of these workshops. They have always been useful and packed with good science. The first workshop in the series was organized in Oslo in 2007 by Lars-Anders Breivik, now research director at MET. It is high time for us to return here”

Jakob Dörr UiB sea ice work shop Oslo 2023_Photo Charlotte Stark

Jakob Dörr (UiB and The Nansen Legacy) attended Sea Ice modelling workshop in Oslo. He presented his poster about patterns and modes of decadal sea ice varialbility in the Arctic.

Picture under: Jakob all the way in the back explaining a detail in his poster at the Sea Ice work shop in Oslo. The work shop was arranged by Thomas Lavergne (MET Norway and The Nansen Legacy) to the left. Photo: Charlotte Stark (MET Norway ) 

Jakob Dörr sea ice work shop 2_Photo Charlotte Stark
Different types of researchers, common goal

Those who participate in the workshop are mostly researchers who work with operational forecasting models. But Lavergne emphasizes that it still involves many different types of researchers.

“We have researchers working to get better data from satellites, and others who look at how we can better use that data in the sea-ice forecast (so-called data assimilation). And then we have researchers working on the development of the forecast models”. 

The goal is to achieve more relevant and accurate sea ice forecasts for people operating in polar regions.

“That’s why the workshop is affiliated with the International Ice Charting Working Group (IICWG)”. 

Varied program

He says that most of the days are spent with researchers presenting their findings and results orally and discussing them with the other researchers.

“We believe and hope that there is something interesting for everyone at all times”.

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute contributes to research

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute will present research on both satellite measurements, data assimilation, and forecasting models.

“Making visible what we are doing is important to us. Both towards other researchers nationally – and internationally. But it’s just as exciting to hear from the other teams – about how they deal with the challenges of sea ice forecasting”.

After the workshop, a brief report will be created and shared with the IICWG.

“But the main purpose is to gather researchers who work towards a common goal of improving sea ice forecasts from different countries and with different starting points. From there, new ideas and collaborations can be formed, and science can continue to thrive”, Lavergne concludes.