This website provides access to an archive of Ice Watch data. An ice watch is often performed on research cruises in regions infested with sea ice, where the ice morphology is characterized by a set of visual observations. Ice Watch is a program to support collation and archiving of this data.

Ice Watch is coordinating the collection and archival of visual sea ice observations recorded on ships in the Northern Hemisphere. We provide open source software for recording and sharing shipborne Arctic sea ice observation data. Data can also be collected in the Southern Hemisphere, and if submitted here will be passed to the Australian Antarctic Division database for ASPeCt observations. Ice Watch is coordinated by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the International Arctic Research Center, and the Geographic Information Network of Alaska. The Climate of the Cryosphere (CliC) office provides support for our international collaboration and networking.

ASSIST (Arctic Shipborne Sea Ice Standardization Tool) software is used by observers to record sea ice conditions throughout the Arctic Ocean. Observers on international vessels using ASSIST can report near real-time observations of ice concentration, ice thickness, stage of growth or melt, surface roughness and many other variables to Ice Watch by emailing the Ice Watch Program. Observers upload data to the Ice Watch data base on completion of their cruise.

Cruise data in multiple formats are available to download, including SIGRID-3 which is standard for ice charting and the ASPeCt CSV format. The data archive will continue to grow as more ships participate and historic cruise data are converted to the ASSIST file format. If you have historical data to contribute we encourage you to contact the Ice Watch Program.

ASSIST and the Ice Watch campaign debuted in summer 2012. We welcome feedback regarding your experiences with the Ice Watch site and the ASSIST software, which is freely available upon request. We also encourage submission of shipborne sea ice observation data recorded by other methods.

Please contact the Ice Watch Program for advice on collecting your own sea ice observations, help using ASSIST, questions, inquiries or any issues concerning ASSIST or the Ice Watch program.

Ice Watch and ASSIST were developed at the Geographic Information Network of Alaska. Since November 2019 the Ice Watch system has been hosted and maintained by the Norwegian Ice Service, part of the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Source code is available on Github.