Monitoring Arctic Polynyas from Space
Title: Monitoring Arctic Polynyas from Space
DNr: NAISS 2024/22-523
Project Type: NAISS Small Compute
Principal Investigator: Hau Man Wong <>
Affiliation: Göteborgs universitet
Duration: 2024-04-08 – 2025-05-01
Classification: 10501


Polynyas, open water regions within the sea ice cover, have been observed by satellites intermittently in the Arctic region over the past few decades. Their formation is complex, requiring various drivers to precondition and trigger the opening, which then influences local and regional weather significantly. Therefore, understanding Arctic polynyas’ spatial and temporal distribution is crucial to studying the polynyas’ impacts on climate. To date, most research is local and short-term, focusing on the major active Arctic polynyas or specific events; there is a need for pan-Arctic, long-term studies of all polynyas. Furthermore, operational sea ice models cannot successfully predict both temporal and spatial information of polynya openings. The objective of this project is to fill in this research gap by creating the first forecasting system of sea ice tailored to Arctic polynyas, based on remotely-sensed observations of the drivers that control polynya openings, and to incrementally increase the resolution of that system to allow for near-real-time monitoring of polynyas via their effect on the atmosphere.