UNDER-ICE: Arctic ocean under melting ice

UNDER-ICE is an interdisciplinary project involving physical oceanography, ocean acoustics, sea ice research and studies of biological production (net community primary production) in Fram Strait and northwards towards the Gakkel Ridge.


Primary objective of the UNDER-ICE project is to advance the knowledge about water masses and processes in ice-covered seas, including heat and volume fluxes, freshwater fluxes, ice-ocean processes and primary production based on observations and modelling in the European sector of the Arctic Ocean. This new knowledge is needed to understand the mechanisms causing the reduction of the sea ice and the role of the Arctic Ocean in the climate system.


Secondary objectives:

  1. Improve the estimation of heat, mass and freshwater fluxes through the Fram Strait using new observation and modelling methods, including effects of mesoscale processes.
  2. Investigate dynamic processes under the ice and in the MIZ and assess their role in mixing of water masses and melting of ice
  3. Observe and model primary production in the Marginal Ice Zone during them ice edge bloom and summer months.
  4. Develop and implement web portal offering open access to observational data and model simulations from the project

Project Summary

The project will focus on observational and modelling studies of water masses, fluxes and physical-biological processes in ice-covered areas and the marginal ice zone (MIZ). Innovative observing systems based on ocean acoustics, hovercraft and gliders will be applied to collect ocean and sea ice data in a series of field experiments from 2013 to 2016. The new data will be combined with existing data, including satellite data and state-of-the art numerical models to study processes of importance for the Arctic climate system. UNDER-ICE will contribute to improved understanding of ocean circulation, water mass distribution, ocean mixing processes, as well as sea ice processes and net community primary production in the MIZ. Data sets provided by the project will be organised and disseminated using a web-based data management system. The data analysis and model reanalysis results will be used to validate climate model simulations from CMIP5 and assess the future evolution of the Arctic and sub-Arctic climate.

Peer Review Publications

  1. Dushaw B, Sagen H, Beszczynska-Møller A. Sound speed as a proxy variable to temperature in Fram Strait. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 2016;140(1).
  2. Hope G, Hobæk H, Sagen H. GEOMETRY OF ACOUSTIC COMMUNICATION LINKS IN THE ARCTIC. Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics. 2016.
Project Details
Funding Agency: 
Research Council of Norway
NERSC Principal Investigator: 
Hanne Sagen
Project Deputy Leader at NERSC: 
Stein Sandven
Coordinating Institute: 
Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center
Project Status: