Joint Norwegian-Russian research project on icy waters

Joint Norwegian-Russian research project on icy waters

Top image: Sea ice at 80° North. Photo: Eva Therese Jenssen /UNIS

A joint Norwegian-Russian research project will focus on icy waters in the Barents Sea and possible impact on maritime and offshore activity.

18 December 2014

A research group from UNIS and NTNU in cooperation with Russian researchers have been granted funds to investigate drift ice, icebergs and sea ice actions on offshore installations.

The exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbon deposits on the Arctic shelf in the Barents Sea leads to increased activity in icy waters. These activities should all be done in a safe and sustainable manner, and unless properly understood the presence of ice represents an increased risk.

Reducing risk
The outcome of the research project should contribute to a reduction of risks related to offshore activity in the High North. In short, the project focuses on knowledge-building in Norway and Russia related to understanding the impact by the presence of ice on the upcoming offshore activity.

Field studies and modelling
The project will undertake field studies and modelling of drift ice, ice actions on offshore installations and methods of iceberg management in regions of offshore development on the shelf of the Barents Sea. The project aims to describe characteristics of drift ice, ice ridges and icebergs in regions with low probability of ice occurrence and high priority of offshore development (the region around Bjørnøya and further to the Central Barents Sea).

Fieldwork will include deployment of ice trackers on drifting ice and icebergs, morphological studies of ice ridges, ice strength tests and standard oceanographic measurements of water characteristics, sea current velocities and waves. Modelling will include numerical simulations of sea state, ice and iceberg drift, thermodynamic consolidation of drifting ice ridges, and probabilistic estimates of ice and iceberg characteristics in the regions of offshore development.

The project will start up in 2015 and run for three years, and has received funding from the Norwegian Research Council and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research.

Storbreen, Hornsund, Svalbard.

The vessel Kongsøy in front of Storbreen, Hornsund. Photo: Eva Therese Jenssen/UNIS

Collaborating partners in Russia include:
N.N. Zubov Memorial State Oceanographic Institute, Moscow
Scientific-Research Institute of Natural Gases and Gas Technologies – Gazprom VNIIGAZ, Moscow
Institute of Numerical Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Science, Moscow
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, State University, Moscow
Krylov State Research Centre, St.Petersburg
Hydrometeorological Centre of Russia, Moscow

Contact person at UNIS: Professor in ice mechanics, Aleksey Marchenko

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