This bulletin, prepared by Dr. R. W Grumbine of the Ocean Modeling Branch, Environmental Modeling Center, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, describes the automated sea ice drift guidance for the polar regions of the Earth which is provided in alphanumeric form. This guidance was implemented in the late 1970s at the request of the National Ice Center and uses the Skiles (1968) model to predict sea ice drift direction and distance out to 6 days at 207 fixed points in the Arctic region.

Since April 1993, new guidance has been implemented experimentally. The new guidance uses the ice models of Thorndike and Colony (1982) for the Northern Hemisphere and Martinson and Wamser (1990) for the Southern Hemisphere. It includes the Skiles fixed prediction points, but also include points along the Arctic and Antarctic ice edges which vary from week to week and are provided by the National Ice Center. Evaluations have been made of both prediction systems, and the new system has been found to be better than the old system. The new prediction system was implemented operationally in 1996.

This is the first Technical Procedures Bulletin on the Subject


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National Weather Service
Last Modified: November 03, 1997