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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 10 Sep 2018

Research article | 10 Sep 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

IcePAC – a Probabilistic Tool to Study Sea Ice Spatiotemporal Dynamic: Application to the Hudson Bay area, Northeastern Canada

Charles Gignac1,2, Monique Bernier1,2, and Karem Chokmani1,2 Charles Gignac et al.
  • 1TENOR Laboratory, INRS - Eau Terre Environnement, Quebec City, G1K9A9, Canada
  • 2Centre for Northern Studies, Laval University, Quebec City, G1V0A6, Canada

Abstract. A reliable knowledge and assessment of the sea ice conditions and their evolution in time is a priority for numerous decision makers in the domains of coastal and offshore management and engineering as well as in commercial navigation. As of today, countless research projects aimed at both modelling and mapping past, actual and future sea ice conditions were realized using sea ice numerical models, statistical models, educated guesses or remote sensing imagery. From these research, reliable information helping to understand sea ice evolution in space and in time are available to stakeholders. However, no research has, as of today, assessed the evolution of the sea ice cover with a frequency modelling approach, by identifying the underlying theoretical distribution describing the sea ice behaviour at a given point in space and time. This project suggests the development of a probabilistic tool, named IcePAC, based on frequency modelling of historical 1978–2015 passive microwave sea ice concentrations maps from EUMETSAT OSI-409 product, to study the sea ice spatiotemporal behaviour in the waters of the Hudson Bay System in Northeastern Canada. Pixel scale models are based on the generalized Beta distribution and generated at a weekly temporal resolution. Results showed coherent with the Canadian Ice Service 1980–2010 Sea Ice Climatic Atlas average freeze-up and meltdown dates for numerous coastal communities in the study area and showed that it is possible to evaluate a range of plausible events, such as the shortest and longest probable ice free season duration, for any given location on the simulation domain. This innovative research opens a path towards various analyses on sea ice dynamics that would gain in informative content and value by relying on the kind of probabilistic information and simulation data available from the IcePAC tool.

Charles Gignac et al.
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Charles Gignac et al.
Charles Gignac et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The IcePAC tool is made to estimate the probabilities of specific sea ice conditions at any given point. It relies on historical sea ice concentration (SIC) time series from EUMETSAT OSI-409 product (12.5 km grid) modelled using the Beta distribution and used to build event probability maps, until now unavailable. Compared to Canadian ice service atlas, IcePAC showed promising results in the Hudson Bay, opening usage of IcePAC in other regions of the cryosphere to inform stakeholders decisions.
The IcePAC tool is made to estimate the probabilities of specific sea ice conditions at any...