Oceanographers and meteorologists will investigate the movement and breakup of pack ice in the Bering Sea Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ) during an intensive field study this February. Ships, aircraft, and remote recording instruments will be involved in this first of a series of field programs to investigate sea ice properties, the atmospheric and oceanic forces driving ice deformation, and the resultant ice response in marginal ice zones. Subsequent programs are planned for both the Bering and Greenland sea regions.
The upcoming field program, dubbed MIZEX WEST, will study interior ice deformation, oceanography, meteorology, wave decay and ice band activity, ice melting, and largescale deformation. The research will lead to the development of a theoretical computer model that will be used to forecast changes in ice position. Before they develop an accurate forecasting model, however, scientists need to understand better how the horizontal movement, shape alteration, and melting of sea ice in the marginal ice zone contribute to where the ice edge is and its properties.