Coastal communities, marine navigation, industry (fishing, tourism, offshore resource extraction), the military, and Earth/Arctic system science research have all expressed a clear need for an Alaska sea ice atlas. Indeed, many requests for historical and climatological sea ice information for Alaska coastal waters presently go unanswered because such an atlas does not exist.
The availability of GIS software, in-house expertise and historical databases extending back to the 1850s makes the construction of an Alaska sea ice atlas timely and feasible. The atlas consists of digitally-stored sea ice concentration data on a grid covering all Alaska coastal waters to a distance of ~500 km (300 mi) from shore, with a spatial resolution of 25 km. The time resolution is monthly for the period 1850s-1950s, and weekly for the period from the early 1950s to 2010 with the allowance of subsequent updates.
The Historical Sea Ice Atlas is a joint project by International Arctic Research Center’s research units, ACCAP and SNAP, funded by the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS).