This paper characterizes the processes that presently occur during freeze-upin the Alaskan Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, based on joint-industryinvestigations conducted in 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2011–12. The studies weredesigned to address five specific objectives:
describe the ice conditionsthat evolve during the freeze-up and early winter seasons;
locate and mapfeatures of potential importance for offshore exploration and productionactivities, including ice movement lines, leads, polynyas, first-year ridgesand rubble fields, and multi-year floes;
locate and quantify ice pile-upson natural shorelines and man-made structures;
correlate significantchanges in the ice cover with the corresponding meteorological conditions; and
compare present-day freeze-up processes with those that occurred in the1980s.
Each study included an analysis of meteorological data, ice charts, andsatellite imagery in concert with a series of aerial reconnaissance missions. The study findings are presented in seven categories:
first-year ice growth,
the timing of freeze-up,
ice pile-ups, and
extraordinary ice features discoveredoff the Chukchi Sea coast.