Response of coastal sea ice properties of the Mackenzie Delta to climate change

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: petroleum industry, climatology, environmental monitoring, climate change, sea ice

Principal Investigator: Prinsenberg, Simon J. (1)
Licence Number: 14985
Organization: Fisheries and Ocean Canada
Licenced Year(s): 2012
Issued: May 01, 2012
Project Team: Simon Prinsenberg (Project and field manager, DFO-BIO, Dartmouth), Ingrid Peterson (Data collection - Image analysis, DFO-BIO, Datmouth), Scott Holladay (Data collection - Insrtrumentation, GeoSensors Inc, Toronto), Dave Barber (ArcticNet Summer field manager, Univ. of Manitoba (ArticNet)), Louis Lalumiere (GPR-Video instrumentation, Sensor ByDesign Ltd., Newmarket), Lisa Losete (Marine ecosystem, DFO Freshwater Inst., Winnipeg), Wildlife Observer (Planning and shedule of survey lines, Inuvik THC)

Objective(s): To collect ice and snow thickness and video data with helicopter-borne sensors during winter ice surveys conducted over the pack ice off the Mackenzie Delta.

Project Description: Under this project, plans are to collect ice and snow thickness and video data with helicopter-borne sensors during winter ice surveys conducted over the pack ice off the Mackenzie Delta. The new data sets and data from two previous smaller surveys will contribute to the project’s objectives to determine the winter variability of the ice and snow properties of the land-fast and mobile ice cover off the Mackenzie Delta that will affect the present and future marine ecosystem, the safety of the use of coastal ice by northerners and the plans/regulations of Imperial Oil and BP Oil (and possible other) oil & gas exploration developments.

Ice and snow thickness winter data along helicopter flight path over the pack ice off the Mackenzie Delta will be collected with existing helicopter-borne sensors and experienced Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and contract personnel. Surveys are planned to occur in March-April of 2012 and 2014, with 2013 and 2015 set aside for data processing by contract personnel, analysis and publication by DFO personnel. If Beaufort Regional Environmental Assessment (BREA) proposals are approved additional survey may be done in winter 2013. The surveys will be run by DFO personnel and supported by experienced contract personnel that maintain the helicopter sensor equipment and the associated logging software.

The helicopter sensor data collected by this Program of Energy Research and Development (PERD) funded project along with the additional summer surveys under the Imperial Oil led ArcticNet-Industryco-operation, will fill the ice and snow knowledge (data) gap off the Mackenzie Delta and provide the data to address the project objectives as stated above. Data, analysis and results will be presented at conference and meetings and will be available in digital format through the DFO-Maritimes Web site. There are no real problems foreseen with the project tasks as a previous winter and summer projects have been successfully run off the Mackenzie Delta.

Local field observer will accompany charter. The project uses Canadian Helicopter Company's helicopters to survey remotely along long straight flight paths the ice and snow properties of the Mackenzie Delta and offshore mobile pack ice.

The data collected each day is send as plots and histograms to the Canadian Ice Service as input to their daily ice chart production that in turn are used by northerners, researchers and offshore marine transportation. This data is also E-mailed daily to researchers planning or doing research in the regions. A Iist will be established that will include research colleagues, the local Hunters and Trappers Committees (THCs) and Aurora Research Institute for their use in research, education material and website displays.

Once the data is processed and organized, it will be available through a website : http://www2.mar.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/science/ocean/seaice/public.html. The results are presented at the annual ArcticNet meeting as well as a International Ice Engineering conferences.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from May 2, 2012 to December 31, 2012.