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Operationally Merged Satellite Visible/IR and Passive Microwave Sea Ice Information for Improved Sea Ice Forecasts and Ship Routing

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Technical Report

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NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt United States

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The Arctic climate system is experiencing dramatic changes. One dramatic and very public change is the reduction in the summertime sea ice cover. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC models predict a further decrease in sea ice cover with a potentially summertime ice-free Arctic before 2100. However, the projections vary widely, with some models predicting a summertime ice-free Arctic as early as 2040. Given the observed and forecast reduction in sea ice cover, Arctic shipping is expected to increase in the future. Additionally, the U.S. Navy and local fishermen need to adapt to the fast changing Arctic it is vital for them to have access to accurate and timely information about the sea ice conditions at relatively small scales. This demands higher accuracy in sea ice forecasts.

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