The ISO 19906 standard provides guidance for the calculation of characteristic ice loads on offshore structures in arctic and cold regions. Ice failure is a complex process and the development and improvement of ice load models can be challenging, in large part because of difficulties obtaining full-scale data and scaling issues when extrapolating small-scale test data. Many of the ice load models referenced in ISO 19906 were developed during arctic exploration in the 70's and 80's. Typically, simplified geometries are assumed for both the structure and ice features in order to obtain analytic solutions; other simplifications may be incorporated appropriate for the specific applications considered and information available. A significant proportion of referenced models provide the maximum load during an interaction, rather than the development of the load over time. This can be a limitation were penetration into a thick ridge is limited by available driving force and kinetic energy.

Given the large variety of ice conditions to which a structure may be subjected and the apparent randomness in ice fracture and damage mechanisms, there can be considerable variation in loads. Ice strength may be set to a characteristic fixed value, the ISO model for global sea ice loads is based on a relationship that considers ice thickness and contact width and is based on upper envelop fits to failure data. When determining the appropriate characteristic load on a structure, consideration should be given to exposure (i.e., the number and durations of ice interactions). Loads based on characteristic values for parameters such as ice thickness and ice strength could be inaccurate for scenarios where the exposure is significantly different than that on which the characteristic values were based. The application of probabilistic methods can be used to account for differences in exposure. While ISO 19906 references such methods, guidelines on implementation is limited.

This paper examines issues in implementing available formulae for ice loads on fixed structures within a probabilistic framework and shows how characteristic ice loads differ depending on the model and assumptions used. The Sea Ice Loads Software (SILS), a probabilistic framework developed by C-CORE for calculating characteristic ice loads using the methods referenced in ISO19906, is used for the analyses and comparisons.

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