SWARP: Ships and Waves Reaching Polar Regions

SWARP develops downstream services for sea ice and waves forecasting in the Arctic Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ). SWARP will integrate the new met-ocean services into contingency planning and onboard navigation softwares


SWARP aims at extending operational services supporting maritime transport safety in the MIZ: forecasts of waves in ice-covered seas, forecasts of sea ice in the presence of waves, and remote sensing of both waves and sea ice conditions in the MIZ. These will enhance the Copernicus downstream services in Polar Regions. Besides maritime transport, SWARP also targets offshore operations, civil security, and coastal and environmental management in the Arctic.

Project Summary

SWARP will develop downstream services for sea ice and waves forecasting in the Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ) in the Arctic. Waves in ice are one of the most hazardous phenomena for vessels and industrial activities in the polar seas, but there are presently no services providing any information about either the waves themselves or their effects on the ice state (in particular the distribution of ice floe sizes). The monitoring and forecasting systems developed in SWARP aim to become operational by the middle of the project, filling a gap in the present marine services of Copernicus.

A waves-in-ice model will be first validated then included in the forecasting services provided downstream of MyOcean (Arctic Marine Forecasting Center) and as part of Prévimer (global wave forecasts). In addition to wave and sea ice forecast models, the project will develop satellite observation methods for waves in ice and other ice properties in the MIZ.

Existing and new satellite observing systems, especially SAR data, will be utilized for retrieval of waves and ice properties in the MIZ. The project will run operationally using data from future Copernicus satellites such as Sentinel-1. The project will also integrate the new met-ocean services into state-of-the-art technology for onboard navigation and shore-based contingency planning. The maritime transport user group is directly involved in the project through the participation of an innovative SME (NAVTOR AS) developing the navigation and planning software.

Project Details
Funding Agency: 
European Commission
NERSC Principal Investigator: 
Laurent Bertino
Project Deputy Leader at NERSC: 
Timothy Williams
Coordinating Institute: 
Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center
Project Status: