The Home of the U.S. National Ice Center
The use of satellite imagery to benefit global ice analyses and forecasts led to the formation of the Joint Ice Center (JIC) in 1976 between NOAA and the Navy (Fleet Weather Facility, Suitland, Md.). In 1995, the JIC expanded to include the U.S. Coast Guard and became the National Ice Center (NIC). Now, Coast Guard aircraft, icebreakers and Marine Safety Offices contribute onsite aerial and ship observations, along with timely ship and station reports.
U.S. National Ice Center: http://www.natice.noaa.gov/index.html
NIC Analyses and Forecasts Supporting Research Across the Globe
The NIC is tasked with supporting NOAA and NSF scientific missions near the poles to assist them in operations in and around the polar ice pack. Some of the ships the NIC is supporting this year include: NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown, conducting ocean column research in the southern Atlantic; NOAA ship Oscar Dyson in the Bering Sea, conducting marine mammal research; and the USCG icebreaker Healy (above), in the Beaufort Sea, conducting sea floor mapping research. Photo Credit: U.S. Coast Gauard
NOAA Arctic Research Resources:
Historic U.S. Great Lake Ice Analysis/Coverage, March 2014
During ice season, the NIC along with the Canadian Ice Service, provide daily analyses of ice cover. On March 6, 2014, ice on the U.S. Great Lakes reached its highest extent in more than 35 years. Ice covered 92.2% of the lake surface, falling behind the February 1977 record (94.76%). These daily analyses of ice on the Great Lakes are a key component in maintaining life and commerce in the U.S.-Canadian region.
Great Lakes Ice Cover Maxima: http://go.usa.gov/KSb4
Satellite Snow Data for Weather Prediction Models Around the World
The NIC also tracks daily snow coverage across the northern hemisphere. Dating back to 1966, the snow cover record is the oldest satellite-derived environmental data record. Analysts rely on many sources, including geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites, automated surface stations and even local webcams to create the most accurate analysis possible. The NIC’s snow and ice extent analysis provides vital data for numerical weather prediction models.
NIC Interactive Multisensor Snow Charts: