Arctic offshore and coastal engineering in changing climate, 2018–2020 (AOCEC)

Part of the INTPART programme, sponsored by RCN and SIU.

Project number: 274951
Project period: 2018–2020
Funding: 4500 kNOK

Main partner institution in Norway and host institution: The University Centre in Svalbard
Project leader: UNIS Professor Aleksey Marchenko
Project administrator: Dagny Valaker
Project coordinator: Dr. Nataly Marchenko

Partner institutions:
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU, Trondheim, Norway), University of Oslo (UiO, Norway), University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF, Fairbanks, USA), Dartmouth College (DC, Hanover, USA), Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN, St. John’s, Canada), Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT, Russia), and Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU, Russia).

We work in close cooperation with the Centre for Sustainable Arctic Marine and Coastal Technology (SAMCoT) at NTNU, UNIS and SINTEF, Norway.

Short project summary

The AOCEC project develops world-class research and education through long-term relations of UNIS with strong academic groups from Canada, Russia and USA. The project expands the cooperation between leading scientific teams working in the fields of Arctic Engineering, Physics and Mechanics of Solids, Fluid Dynamics and Oceanography and inherits the previous cooperation projects: FIMA, SITRA, SMIDA, SafeLOT, WOICE and Hydrolab+.

The project supports student exchange between the partner universities, MSc projects performed at UNIS, the invitation of guest lecturers for teaching at UNIS courses and supervising, joint fieldwork. Teaching methodology follows research and field based education strategy of UNIS. Project activities include regular workshops and participation international conferences.

Project activities are focused on the following topics: 1. Physics and mechanics of ice and loads on structures; 2. Sea ice/iceberg drift, ice management and wave stresses on ice, 3. Shipping in ice-infested waters and navigation in Arctic straits; 4. Arctic harbors, coastal zones and infrastructure.

AOCEC inherits SITRA, FIMA, SMIDA and SafeLOT and is actually the fourth project for development of International collaboration in high education and science in the Arctic Technology department.

Latest news


Study cruise on MS Polarsyssel
Students from the AT-211 course and researchers spent an unforgettable 8 days in the Barents Sea on board the Governor’s ship Polarsyssel.
It was the 3rd expedition to the region between Edgeøya and Bjørnøya to investigate sea ice and icebergs on its south limit.
Sea ice observations, ice mechanical tests, oceanographic measurements, and laser scanning were performed. Valuable data about ice-tongue stretching to Bjørnøya was obtained.


Dartmouth college prof. Devinder Sodhi held a lecture series for the students on the AT-211 course and participated in the fieldwork in Svea.
Prof. Devinder Sodhi is a widely recognized scientist in the field of ice mechanics and loads on structures.
It is his 5th visit to UNIS after first lecturing in February 2012. He enriched the Arctic Technology fieldwork with his valuable experience in March 2013, 2017 and taught in February 2015.


The Svea expedition returned to Longyearbyen
Here are the participants. In the photo from the Svea cantina you will see sitting Devinder Sodhi (DC), Nataly Marchenko (UNIS), Evgeny Karulin (SMTU), Aleksey Marchenko (UNIS);
standing – Jeffrey Brown (NRC), Marina Karulina (KSRC) Andrii Sliusarenko (GOIN), Kåre Johansen (UNIS), Robert Frederking (NRC), Alexander Sakharov Vladimir Markov Petr Chistyakov (all 3 from MSU),Carl Renshaw (DC), Evgeny Morozov (IO).
In the other photos – Mark Shortt (UCL), Dmitry Frei (IO), Julien Pooya Weihs (NTNU), Charlotte Sandmo (UNIS), Benjamin Lishman (UCL), John Grue (UiO).


Highlights of the Svea expedition
In the last day of the 8th Svea expedition we summarise the experience. The weather was extremely tough – 20/10, that means -20oC temperature and 10 m/s at least wind. 2 days with snow storm.
All experiment and ice mechanical tests were new:
–In flexural strength test we measured the load and displacements in several points, distributed over the axis of cantilever beams, for the calculation of beam curvature;
–Several tests with vibrating fixed-ends beams were performed to investigate elastic modulus of ice;
–Pendulum tests were performed to investigate properties of ice-ice collisions in the water;
–Towing floe experiment was performed to investigate generation of under ice turbulence;
–Investigation of physical properties of ice (strength, permeability, microstructure) was performed over the area of Vallunden lake to investigate the influence of tidal current on ice.
–The powerful DitchWitch machine was used to cut long ice beams and to make large floe (10 x 5m).


Three AOCEC students in Svea
They are Brian Adam McDonald from Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada), Aleksandra Visich from MIPT (Russia) and Julien-Pooya Weihs from NTNU (Norway). Brian and Aleksandra came with the student group, but Julien participates in the whole expedition, doing experiments for his MSc thesis.


Students of the AT-211 course joined the Svea team in the second week to get valuable experience and unforgettable impressions.
During 3 days, students had a unique opportunity to join an international scientific group (led by prof. Aleksey Marchenko, UNIS), learn in-the-field basics of ice mechanics and applied oceanology, and to run full-scale tests.
The big enthusiastic team, including students and guest researchers made a “Guinness World Record” (unfortunately not registered) by performing the towing of an ice floe size of 10 x 5m.


Dartmouth college prof. Carl Renshaw had his 4th visit to UNIS (the first was in May 2016). During the visit he held a lecture series for the students on the AT-211 course, discussed future research with the UNIS team, and participated in fieldwork in Svea, making experiments on permeability together with prof. A. Marchenko and supervising the students.


Bad weather in Svea
After establishing the camp and starting the experiments, the ice researchers on the Vallunden lake experienced a snow storm. It made the work quite complicated.


8th “Svea expedition” departure.
After a safety briefing the team is ready to drive snowmobiles 70 km to the former miner settlement Svea and perform investigation of fast ice properties during 2 weeks. Among the participants this year are: 1 from University of Oslo, 1 from NTNU, 3 from Lomonosov Moscow State University, 1 from SMTU, 1 from Krylov State Research Centre, St. Petersburg, 2 from the P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology (Russia), 1 from GOIN (Russia), 2 from Dartmouth College (US), 2 from University College London (UK) and 2 from National Research Council (Canada).
With strong UNIS leading and logistic support, they extended the work started in 2013 in the frame of the SMIDA project and continued the last years’ work: testing of the new rig, in-situ identational tests, beam test, compression-strength test; tide measurements.


The spring semester has started at UNIS with 1 week safety course. Approximately 100 new students came, among them 2 students supported by the AOCEC project. They are Brian Adam McDonald from Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada) taking AT-211 and AT-205 and Aleksandra Visich from MIPT (Russia), taking the AT-211 course and working on her MSc project. It is the first semester for Brian. Aleksandra was at UNIS in Autumn 2018 and took AT-332.


New equipment
The Ditch Witch C16 Walk-Behind Trencher will help to prepare the site for ice tests both faster and more efficiently. Project leader Prof. Aleksey Marchenko is very glad and inspired. Looking forward to the next field season in March 2019!


Julien-Pooya Weihs (NTNU) – AOCEC MSc student in Autumn 2018
Master student from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Division of Applied Physics, Department of Physics, Faculty of Natural Sciences. Julien-Pooya has sailed in Svalbard waters, taken several courses at UNIS in spring and summer (AGF-211, AGF-212, AS-301) and now makes his MSc project in the frame of AOCEC.
Read about Julien-Pooya’s extensive experience of UNIS and Svalbard in general here (PDF).


Alexandra Visich (MIPT) – AOCEC student at AT-332 Autumn 2018
Master student of Aerophysics and Space Research Department of Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT, Russia), hometown: Dolgoprudniy, Russia.
Alexandra took the AT-332 course in Autumn 2018. It was her first time in Svalbard but she hopes to come again as she applied for AT-211 in spring 2019.
Read about Alexandra’s experience here (PDF).


Indentation rig calibration
Calibration of an indentation rig, used for full-scale tests on ice strength since 2012, was performed with special steel frame, designed and constructed in October 2018. It helps to identify the influence of the rig properties on the experimental results.
In the photo: prof. Peter Chistyakov (MSU), prof. Aleksey Marchenko (UNIS), prof. Alexander Sakharov (MSU), prof. Evgeny Karulin (SMTU).


Guest lecturer from MUN at UNIS
Dr. Robert Sinclair Sarracino (Memorial University of Newfoundland, MUN) spent two weeks at UNIS, teaching on AT-332 and performing consulting on computer modeling with Comsol Multiphysics and LS-Dyna software.
During his stay here he got an unforgettable experience of fieldwork with the ice and approaching darkness.


Seminar after lab and fieldwork
Reflection on this year’s (spring and autumn) field and lab activities is an important part of the annual procedure. Late autumn is the time for abstract submission for the next year conferences and preparation of the papers.
The key topics are how to design the new test geometry to diminish the influence of stress concentrations on the experimental results, how to model the mechanical ice processes with known techniques and software, use the results of fieldwork and full-scale experiments.
Professors in the photo (all were teaching on the AT-332 course) are Robert Sarracino (MUN), Alexander Sakharov (MSU), Aleksey Marchenko (UNIS), Evgeny Karulin (SMTU), Dmitry Onishchenko (VNIIGAZ) and Petr Chistyakov (MSU).


AT-332 Fieldwork
Students from the AT-332 course perform fieldwork as the part of their studies. Previously they worked in groups performing tests on ice strength under compression, tension and bending and analyzing thin sections of ice in the lab. Now they work in-situ, doing tests with floating cantilever beams on flexural strength. The tests will be following by computer modeling in Comsol Multiphysics.
Work on the lake near Mine 7 is a valuable experience for students in the term of participation in unique full-scale experiments, and testing of resistance to cold conditions.
The challenge this year was very foggy weather.


The 6th Lake Expedition
Investigation of fresh ice on the lake located between Mine 7 and EISCAT on the elevation 400 m above sea level was performed at the first time in 2013 in the frame of the SMIDA project. Since that the so-called “Lake expedition” has become a regular expedition. In 2015–2017 it was supported by the SITRA project and now by AOCEC.
Each year, the team runs ice mechanical tests and show students of the AT-332/832 course the basis of full-scale experiments.
Ice conditions on the lake this year were good (thickness 40 cm, little snow) and the AOCEC team managed to perform several ice mechanical tests.
Regular participants of the “Lake expedition” are: Professors Alexander Sakharov and Petr Chistyakov (MSU), Aleksey Marchenko (UNIS), Evgeny Karulin (SMTU).


AT-332 course lab work
Students made experiments in the lab under the supervision of prof. Aleksey Marchenko, Dr. Jean Rabault (UiO) and prof. Vladimir Markov (MSU). Using a wave tank with generating waves paddle and wave absorbing grids and four sensors, they investigated the relation between frequency, group and phase velocity in water waves and made a comparison with the theoretical results. Using a setup consisting of a rod with a metal sphere, an accelerometer and several extra massive pieces, they found added masses of a pendulum in water.
These experiments are very important for the understanding of floe-floe interaction in wave conditions and modelling of wave damping in ice covered areas.




Seven AOCEC students at UNIS for the AT-332 course and project work in Autumn semester 2018
Five of these students are taking the AT-332 course, taught by Dr. Aleksey Marchenko. Four of them are from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), Russia and one from Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), Canada.
In the photo, from left: upper row – Rinat Mukhametianov (MIPT), Brian Adam McDonald (MUN), Nikita Turko (MIPT); lower row – Sergey Petrov, Aleksandra Visich (MIPT), Julien Pooya Weihs (NTNU).
And Fedor Yurov (MSU) will join the project soon.
Read more about the students here (PDF).


Partner visit UNIS-UAF
Project leader prof. Aleksey Marchenko and project coordinator Dr. Nataly Marchenko visited University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). They made presentations and discussed UAF-UNIS collaboration in the frame of AOCEC project with UAF study administration (Nicole Balazs) and Director of UAF International Programs & Initiatives (Donna Anger). The plans for future experiments and research were made together with colleagues from UAF Institute of Marine science and Geophysical Institute (Mark Johnson and Zygmunt Kowalik).
It was very nice to meet former UNIS-MIPT student Dmitry Brazhnikov, supported by previous AT cooperation projects (SafeLOT, SMIDA) for his UNIS study in 2009–2010 and 2013. Dmitry Brazhnikov is now PhD student at UAF and Professors M. Johnson, Z. Kowalik, and A. Marchenko are his supervisors. Hopefully, he will defend his PhD thesis soon.


Nikita Turko (MIPT) spent 5 months at UNIS in January–May 2018, taking the AT-211 Ice Mechanics, Loads on Structures and Instrumentation course with support of the SITRA project. Now Nikita is ready for the AT-332 Physical Environmental Loads on Arctic Coastal and Offshore Structures course in Autumn with AOCEC project funding.

Read about Nikita’s experience from the spring semester 2018 here (PDF).


Former UNIS student Andrii Murdza got the best student paper award on the 24th IAHR Symposium of Ice
Andrii spent almost 2 years at UNIS, supported by the SMIDA project in 2014–2016. Being a MIPT student, Andrii first took AT-211 and AT-332, and then came to UNIS as an external master student and participated in field and lab work under the supervision of prof. Aleksey Marchenko. After a successful defense of his Master thesis in June 2016, Andrii became a PhD student at the Dartmouth College (US) and continued to investigate ice properties under prof. Erland Schulson supervising, participating in the SITRA project.
Now we are happy to have Andrii on the AOCEC team.
The IAHR Symposium on Ice and the POAC conference, being organized in turn each second year are the main gatherings for the sea ice scientific community.
Read about Andrii’s work at UNIS here (PDF).
Andrii’s profile on ResearchGate
Look through Proceedings of the 24th IAHR International Symposium on Ice Vladivostok, Russia (June 4-9, 2018 Scientific electronic edition) (PDF)
In the photo gallery on the left: 1) Andrii with Certificate, 2) All 24th IAHR participants, 3) Andrii in Svalbard, 4) After MSc thesis defense with supervisors – prof. Aleksey Marchenko and prof. Vladimir Zhmur


AOCEC kick-off meeting at the University of Oslo
All project participants gathered in Oslo for the official opening of the AOCEC project and planning of project development. UiO ( Norway) was presented by prof. Atle Jensen and prof John Grue, MUN (St. John’s, Canada) by prof. Rocky Taylor; NTNU (Trondheim, Norway) by PhD student Hongtao Li.
Prof. Vladimir Zhmur, Dr Oleg Izvekov and Dr. Yury Fomin presented MIPT (Russia); prof. Vladimir Markov and Dr. Kirill Nikitin – MSU ( Russia). Prof. Aleksey Marchenko and Dr. Nataly Marchenko – UNIS (Norway). Carl Renshaw and David Cole (DC, US) participated via Skype, Mark Johnson (UAF, US) sent presentation and comments.
The participants made presentations about relevant for implementation topics (background and realization means), discussed students involvement and activities for 2018 and 2019.
Prof. Atle Jensen showed the lab facilities of Mechanics Group of UiO, prof. John Grue guided the tour through the campus.


The first AOCEC Master project
Msc Student Fedor Yurov (MSU with supervising by Dr Nataly Marchenko) performed laser scanning on Svalbard Airport Runway and the roads in Longyearbyen. Transport infrastructure in the northernmost town suffers from large deformations due to permafrost degradation, which has increased during the past warm years. These deformations influence operational safety and significantly increase the cost of maintenance. Laser scanning and mapping provide a new opportunity to quantify the visible deformations via 3D modelling, detect changes and determine the most sensitive places.


Study cruise in the Barents Sea
Students from the AT-211 course and researchers from UNIS and P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology (Russia) spent an unforgettable 5 days on board the  Governor’s ship Polarsyssel. Sea ice observations, ice mechanical tests, oceanographic measurements, laser scanning on the most south sea ice limits were performed. Valuable data about ice-tongue stretching to Bjørnøya (Bear Island) was obtained.


AOCEC team participated in the 7th “Svea expedition”
2 weeks in the former miner settlement for field investigation of fast ice properties.
Among the participants this year are: 5 from Lomonosov Moscow State University, 1 from SMTU, 1 from Krylov State Research Centre, St.Petersburg, and 1 from the P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology (Russia), 2 from Dartmouth College (US), 1 from University College London (UK) and 2 from AARI (Russia).
With strong UNIS leading and logistic support, they extended the work started in 2013 in the frame of the SMIDA project and continued the last years: testing of the new rig, in-situ identational tests, beam test, compression-strength test; tide measurements.
Students of the AT-211 course joined the team in the second week to get valuable experience and unforgettable impressions.


AOCEC kick-off meeting at Lomonosov Moscow State University
We finalized SITRA and started AOCEC. The achievements, experience, lessons learned from the previous projects (SafeLOT, SMIDA, SITRA) were discussed. But we look into the future more and make the plans for coming years.

In the main photo, from left to right:
Professors: Tatyana Belyakova, Nikolay Diansky (MSU), Aleksey Marchenko (UNIS), Alexander Sakharov, Evgeny Lomakin (MSU), Vladimir Zhmur (MIPT), Petr Chistyakov, Vladimir Markov (MSU); Researchers: Dr. Yury Fomin (MIPT), Dr. Nataly Marchenko (UNIS); MSc students: Varvara Petrova, Eldar Khabibulin, Alexander Shelenkov (MIPT).

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