The overall objective o f MIZEX is to gain a better understanding of the mesoscale physical and biological processes by which atmosphere, ice, and ocean interact in the marginal ice zones (MIZ) that are found at the boundaries between ice-covered and open oceans. Improved modeling and better prediction of ice-edge position, ice concentration, and ice type in these regions would be a major step toward expanding human activities, for example, seaborne commerce, fishing, oil exploration and production, and naval operations. In addition, when more accurate parameterizations of mesoscale physical processes are available for inclusion in large-scale models, the result will be a major improvement in hemispherical climatological studies.
Winter MIZEX '87 was conducted during March and April 1987 in the Fram Strait and Greenland Sea (see cover) and extended along the MIZ from about 75°N–79°N and 5°W–5°E. The experiment included an intensive 2-day investigation of the Barents Sea MIZ carried out between the southern tip of Svalbard and Bear Island. Two Norwegian ships, R/V Håakon Mosby and the ice-strengthened R/V Polar Circle, and the R/V Valdivia of the Federal Republic of Germany participated in the experiment. Flight operations were carried out by two Canadian aircraft equipped with Synthetic Aperature Radar (SAR), a U.S. plane equipped with passive microwave sensors, a Norwegian P3 aircraft, and a helicopter based on the Polar Circle.