At the Danish Meteorological Institute's Center for Ocean and Ice, we monitor weather, ocean and ice conditions in the Arctic for several reasons. Partly to follow the climatological development, partly to produce physical data products for numerical weather and ocean models, and partly to support marine and offshore operators with the latest ice observations and predictions.
The Danish Meteorological Institute is the national weather service for Denmark, the Faeroe Islands and Greenland. The Institute was established in 1872. Since 1959 DMI has in addition operated the Greenland Ice Service which is responsible for providing ice charts for safe navigation around Greenland and which includes the permanently staffed Ice Central in Narsarsuaq, South Greenland.
In the early days of the ice service we used air reconnaissance flights to observe the sea ice conditions and draw ice charts, but since the 1970s we have gradually shifted to more and more use of satellite information. For the last 10 years, satellite data has been our primary source of sea ice information, although we still operate a helicopter for monitoring ice in the narrow fjord systems in southern Greenland.
During the last 10 years we have also expanded our commercial activities to cover the Caspian Sea, where we run a full scale ice service covering the Kashagan Oilfield, Antarctica and some areas of the Pacific.
Sea ice is an important element in the understanding of the global climate system. The changes in sea ice extent is closely monitored and analyzed by various climate centers around the world including DMI. Since the 1970s the extent of sea ice has been measured from satellites. From these measurements we know that the sea ice extent today is significantly smaller than 30 years ago. During the past 10 years the melting of sea ice has accelerated, and especially during the ice extent minimum in September large reductions have been observed.