AT-834 Arctic Marine Measurements Techniques, Operations and Transport (10 ECTS)






April 15, 2024


August 05, 2024


September 19, 2024


Autumn semester (Block 5)

Photo: Sören Ehlers

Grade:Letter grade (A through F)
Course Cost:None
Course Capacity Min/Max:10/25 students (AT-334/834 in total)
Language of instruction:English
Examination support material:Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue

Contact person

Course requirements

Enrolment in a relevant PhD programme. Knowledge in mathematics/statistics and mechanics/physics corresponding to an engineering bachelor level.

Academic content

The course addresses instrumentation, cybernetics, and measurements/analysis of parameters and operations in the Arctic marine environment relevant for the offshore oil and gas, shipping, and ocean science. The course consists of 3 modules:

  • Module I: Physical-statistical characterization of Arctic marine environment, in particularly sea ice and icebergs.
  • Module II: Sensors, sensor platforms, and control techniques for marine surveillance and marine operations in the Arctic including autonomous systems (underwater, surface and aerial) and dynamic positioning and thruster assisted position mooring of ships and floaters in ice. Principles for planning marine operations including uncertainties in weather forecast and weather windows. Discussion of important design aspects of selected types of marine operations.
  • Module III: Design and operations of ships in ice, Arctic transport, and shipping.

In Module I, the different sea ice environments are described and classified with respect to age, distance to land/open water, and type. The topics include ice formation and growth, icebergs source and properties, ice ridge properties and processes, and sea ice drift. The students will spend time the two first weeks in the UNIS ice laboratory and study level ice formation and growth, and the process and properties of ice ridges. They will submit reports. Module I gives the basis for the two other modules.

In Module II, autonomous sensors and sensor platforms including underwater vehicles, surface and aerial vehicles in addition to dynamic positioning and thruster assisted position mooring of ships and floaters will be addressed. This includes introduction to sensors and signal processing, mathematical modelling of loads and response from sea and ice loads, control system design, autonomy aspects, and requirements for operations in an Arctic environment with extreme coldness, darkness, and remoteness. Fieldwork with underwater vehicles (ROV and AUV) for marine mapping and monitoring in Isfjorden will be carried out to demonstrate principles of sensors, sensor platforms, control systems, and autonomy.

In Module III, Arctic shipping and transport is discussed. The essential differences between and Arctic and a non-Arctic environment are the presence of sea ice and icebergs, in additions to factors such a low temperatures, remoteness, darkness (in the winter), icing, less communication and other things. The design of icebreakers and ice-enforced ships will be discussed, both through codes and standards and by presenting and discussing the ongoing research activities to improve the engineering practice. Aspects of risk and safety will be covered.

Application areas are shipping, offshore oil and gas, fisheries and aquaculture, and ocean science.

Learning outcomes

Students will acquire basic knowledge in quantifying the physical environment through measurements, analysis, and simulations. The knowledge of the students is relevant to the industry and the society as a whole. Students will develop competence through lectures and group work related to several case studies.

Upon completing the course, the students will:


  • good knowledge on sea ice parameters and processes in landfast and drifting sea ice
  • knowledge about icebergs frequency, drift, and operations
  • knowledge of underwater vehicles, marine acoustics, optics, underwater navigation, marine control, operations, mapping, and monitoring
  • knowledge about sea ice features, sensors, and techniques for marine surveillance in the Arctic
  • good knowledge about design ice load calculations
  • knowledge about ice condition assessment for Arctic shipping
  • good knowledge on sea ice parameters and processes in landfast and drifting sea ice
  • basic knowledge about icebergs frequency, drift, and properties.


  • understand the conditions for sea ice formation, the ice growth process and general level ice thicknesses in different Arctic and sub-Arctic areas, especially the Barents Sea and the Fram Strait
  • analyse the relevant physical-statistical properties of ice ridges and icebergs and the processes determining these
  • use the equations for description of sea ice drift
  • use and understand the codes to determine ice loads on ships and ice breakers and the fundamental assumptions behind these rules and discuss the ongoing research
  • determine the relevant parameters in an Arctic marine environment required for design and operation of ships and icebreakers
  • explain the concept of mathematical modeling for design, analysis, and verification of marine control systems for ships, rigs, underwater vehicles, and slender structures operating in an Arctic climate
  • use the fundamental structure and architecture in marine control systems from low-level control of motors and propellers to high-level control and optimization including autonomy subject to the particular marine operation, desired behavior and constraints
  • analyse marine operations using fundamental safety and operational requirements for operation of sensors, sensor platforms, and ships in an Arctic environment
  • be able to quantify through data analysis and simple modelling the relevant sea ice and iceberg parameters such as ice thickness, ice drift, and ice ridge statistics
  • use the ISO19906 and determine ice action on fixed offshore structures
  • understand the uncertainties involved in ice conditions relevant for Arctic shipping and their influence on Arctic shipping
  • explain the concept of probabilistic ice load calculations
  • participate in the planning process of marine operations where operational limits and weather windows are discussed
  • perform simple assessments of the design aspect of offshore lifting and towing operations.

General competences

  • have competence in using sensors and techniques for marine surveillance and marine operations both for data collection as well as using these data in operations of structures in the Arctic
  • be able to calculate ice loads and impact on control system design on e.g. icebreakers and ships operating in different ice conditions
  • have the ability to identify the basic requirements influencing Arctic sea transportation
  • understand and manage the risks during the planning and execution of Arctic marine operations.

Learning activities

The course extends over a period of ca. 5 weeks including compulsory safety training, and is run in combination with AT-334.

The lectures will provide an overview of theoretical concepts and explain how these concepts can be applied in a practical context. The laboratory work and fieldwork will give the students a hands-on experience of instruments and measurements techniques. Students are to write reports from laboratory and fieldwork, and these reports will be organized as scientific/technical papers so that the students get practical experience in how to communicate their work. The students will be trained in critical thinking and scientific writing.


  • Total lecture hours: 35 hours.
  • Exercises and data analysis: 25 hours.
  • Excursions: 1 day.
  • Fieldwork: 2–3 days.
  • Laboratory work: 5–10 days.
  • Work on field/lab logs, reports, assignments: 30 hours.

Compulsory learning activities

  • fieldwork
  • laboratory work
  • a 20-minute presentation of their PhD project

All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to sit the exam.


MethodDurationPercentage of final grade
Written reports 15%
Scientific abstract based on lab reportDeadline 1 week after the written exam15%
Written exam4 hours70%

All assessments must be passed in order to pass the course.

Each assessment is graded and subsequently combined into a single grade. Partial grades for each assessment will be available.

Student life

Photo: Sören Ehlers
AT-334 illustration
Illustration: Bjarne Stenberg/NTNU