The Contribution of Space Technologies to Arctic Policy Priorities

take account of all potential dangers to navigation, weather forecasts, tidal predictions, the competence of the crew, and all other relevant factors. The primary safety risks in the Arctic are from sea ice, icebergs and ice islands. It also adds an obligation for all vessels’ masters to offer assistance to those in distress and controls the use of lifesaving signals with specific requirements regarding danger and distress messages. yy The UnitedNations Convention on the Lawof the Sea ( UNCLOS) provides some general provisions with respect to safety of maritime operations and rescue, and for the prevention of harm to human health. yy The MARPOL Convention notes that as climate and sea ice conditions continue to change, the timing and movements of the animals’ activity will also be modified, making predictions of the potential interactions between shipping and animals increasingly complex. yy The report, Nordic Cooperation on Foreign and Security Policy , proposes the development between the Nordic countries of cooperation on Arctic issues focusing on more practical matters, such as maritime safety. 4.1.3 Role of Satellite Systems COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS (Impact High) Maritime rely to a great extent on satellite communication when vessels are moving into areas outside of coverage of terrestrial systems. Since communications costs are high, usage is limited to the most important applications, which includes reporting to shipping companies and crew welfare. Crew welfare has been the main driver for installation of broadband satellite communication systems on vessels during the recent years. Typically, required data rates are in the order of 500kbps, which can easily be satisfied by GEO systems below 75 0 N; however there is a current gap in requirements about 75 0 N (demand is currently low in this region but will increase as maritime transport and fisheries move further north). (ArticCOM Consortium, 2011) Future demand for communication systems is expected to increase for numerous reasons, including increased maritime transport between Asia and USA/Europe, increased fishing activities, increased tourism, and increased maritime traffic associate with energy production. The availability of new applications will also contribute to the demand for higher bandwidth. These applications will be developed to meet on- going efficiency demands, crew safety and welfare, as well as expanded emergency situation applications that include more extensive use of real-time video being shared with on-shore operations. Other applications demanding high bandwidth will be for mandatory regulations (such as e-reporting of daily fish catch) and increased requirements for environmental monitoring from ships (emission of pollutants, ballast water etc.) (ArticCOM Consortium, 2011)

Specialized weather forecasts may also be necessary for off- shore drilling activities to ensure necessary operational/safety precautions are implemented.


GNSS is the primary means of marine navigation and has increased the safety of marine transportation by providing accurate, all weather navigation capability.


The primary safety application of EO in the Arctic concerns safe marine transportation and offshore operations in the presence of sea ice and icebergs. To this end, critical information on sea ice and iceberg location and characteristics derived from satellite imagery is used routinely by vessels and operations in ice infested waters to make tactical decisions. While satellite radar imagery is the primary data source for operational sea ice information world-wide due to its independence from solar illumination and most weather conditions, the use of optical data frequently supplements radar imagery to cover gaps in spatial/temporal coverage and/or provide higher spatial resolution over specific areas, particularly in support of search-and-rescue missions. Ice charting and surveillance is typically provided by national ice services to ensure adequate coverage of high-resolution sea ice information (i.e. derived from wide-swath SAR data) for areas under their jurisdiction. However, much of the Arctic basin is not covered by operational ice services providing high- resolution products, although coarse-resolution, global-scale products derived from passive microwave sensors are available. As a result, the full potential for supporting safe shipping and offshore operations is only realized in areas covered by national ice services. For the remainder of the Arctic basin, an appropriate governance of ice services is yet to be established. This is particularly pressing in light of significantly increased ship traffic in the Arctic resulting from a steady decrease in summer ice cover. Ice detection and monitoring is a mature application of radar EO. While national ice services provide reliable data, there remain some deficiencies that need to be overcome to optimize these services. Repeat coverage of the existing satellites like Radarsat-2 and COSMO-SkyMed is not frequent enough and the data resolution needs to be improved, so the launch of additional satellites, such as Sentinel 1 and 3 and Radarsat Constellation, is required to improve ice monitoring to ensure marine transportation safety as vessel traffic in the Arctic continues to increase. S-AIS is particularly applicable to the Arctic because of the high costs of installing terrestrial AIS infrastructure to cover the shipping routes in and through the region. The primary purpose of AIS is for safety of life in marine transportation and international regulation mandates use of this technology by all SOLAS class vessels operating in the Arctic. Initially conceived as a collision avoidance measure for vessel masters, the system has been readily adopted by many national coast guard agencies SURVEILLANCE SYSTEMS (Impact Low)


Marine safety and efficient route planning are greatly affected by the ability to predict and understand weather patterns.


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