Observers' Guide to Sea Ice
This is the online version of a job aid designed for volunteers who report aerial, shipboard, or shoreline observations of ice conditions at sea to authorities such as the National Weather Service, National Ice Center, U.S. Coast Guard, pilots associations, port authorities, or other maritime interests. In the job aid, emphasis is on conditions of concern to mariners with regard to safe passage of ships.
View and Print the Job Aid: Observers' Guide to Sea Ice [PDF, 2.7 MB]
Order a Copy: We're sorry, but bound copies of the job aid are no longer being produced.
More Information about Sea Ice
Ship-based Sea and Lake Ice Observing: Ships operating in areas with ice are expected to report conditions as part of standard weather reporting procedures. This 2.5-hour lesson, produced by The COMET® Program, begins with background information on ice, addressing such topics as where it is found, how it develops, and how to observe and report it. The lesson’s scenarios simulate the experience of being an ice observer in four situations and locations. Shrinking Sea Ice: Watch this three-part video series from NOAA's Ocean Today about the role of ice in our ocean:
- What is sea ice and why is it shrinking? (The Role of Ice in the Ocean: Part I) (video, 2:09 minutes)
- How do we measure ice? (The Role of Ice in the Ocean: Part II) (video, 2:26 minutes)
- Shrinking Ice: Impacts (The Role of Ice in the Ocean: Part III) (video, 2:26 minutes)
Below Zero: The art of icebreaking: An article from the Coast Guard Compass (official blog of the U.S. Coast Guard) explaining how the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, coupled with skill and appropriate tactics of a knowledgeable ice pilot, will have channels ready and prepared for the arrival of commercial vessels and help them with safe transit through the ice.
Marine Ice Atlas for Cook Inlet, Alaska [PDF]: A compilation of previously published and unpublished information on the climatic, meteorological, oceanographic, and hydrodynamic conditions that influence the marine ice cover in Cook Inlet. Published by the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL).