Navigation in ice covered waters is challenging. Driven by both wind and currents, the sea ice situation can change dramatically within hours. For example, navigable open water channels can close as the sea ice converges. If the pressure persists, ice floes are forced on top of each other, forming dense ridges. Such sea ice is then hard to cross, even for icebreakers. In several polar campaigns, most notably the one year-round MOSAiC expedition of the AWI research icebreaker Polarstern, we ordered and provided TerraSAR-X images in near real-time via the operational data processing chain at DLR Neustrelitz. These “exclusive” acquisitions are highly valuable for both navigators and scientists on board. Therefore AWI and DLR concluded a contract to support upcoming Arctic expeditions of RV Polarstern with TerraSAR-X data. The new APEXES project gives a new foundation to the successful collaboration.
Research icebreaker Polarstern in Central Arctic sea ice during polar night during MOSAiC, as seen by TerraSAR-X