Mapping Slush and Sea Ice for Spring Travel Safety in Inuit Nunangat
The goal of this research is the development and operationalization of new hazardous ice mapping technology to mitigate impacts of warmer winters and springs on sea-ice travel in Arctic communities. In partnership with the northern social enterprise, SmartICE, we will develop the capability to detect and map slush and incorporate the technology into their mobile sea-ice thickness mapping system - the SmartQAMUTIK. Slush is a wet saline snow layer, that forms between the snow and ice when thick snow overlies thin ice and seawater floods the ice surface, causing snowmobiles to sink in and get stuck. Adapting proven concepts from case studies, we will aim to resolve sea ice, snow and slush thicknesses over seawater using the electromagnetic induction sounder Geophex GEM-2. The developed algorithms will be integrated into the SmartQAMUTIK system. Finally, operating protocols and training materials will be developed, tested and demonstrated with SmartICE operators in the Nunavut community of Qikiqtarjuaq.