Research on sea ice

Under the auspices of the Centre for ice, climate & ecosystems (ICE) the Polar Institute studies the physical processes that determine how sea ice evolves in the Arctic. 

Researchers from the Norwegian Polar Institute conducting measurements on the Arctic sea ice during a cruise with the research vessel Lance. Video: Ola Brandt / Norwegian Polar Institute / YouTube

Arctic sea ice

In ICE Fluxes, we focus on understanding processes from small to larger scales that govern energy and mass fluxes between the atmosphere, snow, sea ice, and ocean.

We aim to improve the understanding of how the components interact and which processes control the development of the sea ice cover. This will be done through extensive field work around Svalbard, in the Barents Sea, and in Fram Strait, through modelling using simple to highly sophisticated models, and through laboratory experiments with a rotating tank.

Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, technology and systems of agreements

The decline in extent, thickness and age of ice in the Arctic Ocean is a visible result of climate change. 

A main effect of the retreat of the sea ice is that areas that until now have been almost inaccessible will become more open for commercial exploitation.

This is one of the research flagships of the Fram Centre in Tromsø. The flagship is chaired by the Norwegian Polar Institute in collaboration with SINTEF (technology) and the University of Tromsø (systems of agreements). 


The Arctic sea ice is melting, and is getting both thinner and covering a smaller area. It is part of a complex, dynamic physical system which includes the atmosphere (wind, sunlight, snow and rain, aerosols), the snow on the ice, the actual sea ice, the sea beneath the ice, and the biological organisms and by-products in the ice and the sea. 

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