Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium: A strategy for meeting the needs for marine-based research in the Arctic

The recent changes of the Arctic and the increased economic activity in the region have triggered a demand for accurate sea-ice and weather predictions, for information on the status of the Arctic Ocean, and for complex predictions of future scenarios.

To address these issues of particular environmental and societal concern and to develop policy recommendations for a sustainable usage of the Arctic Ocean and its resources, the Arctic science community needs world-class research icebreakers (RIs) to access the ice-covered Arctic Ocean. The current shortage of availability of RIs and a not optimally coordinated polar research fleet impedes Europe’s capacity to investigate this region. There is thus an urgent need for providing European researchers with better RI capacities for the Arctic.

ARICE aims at reaching this goal with the existing polar fleet by:

  • Networking
    ARICE will develop strategies to ensure the optimal use of the existing polar research vessels at a European and international level, working towards an International Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium which will share and jointly fund operational ship time on the available RIs.
  • Trans-national access (TNA)
    ARICE will provide TNA to six key European and international RIs for European scientists, based on scientific excellence of submitted proposals:
    - PRV Polarstern, Germany
    - IB Oden, Sweden
    - RV Kronprins Haakon, Norway (under construction, to be operative in 2017)
    - RRS Sir David Attenborough, United Kingdom (under construction, to be operative in 2018)
    - CCGS Amundsen, Canada
    - RV Sikuliaq, United States of America
  • Joint research activities
    ARICE will improve the RIs’ services by partnering with maritime industry on a “ships and platforms of opportunity” programme and by exploring into new technologies that will lead to an improvement of ship-based and autonomous measurements in the Arctic Ocean. ARICE will implement virtual and remote access of data via an innovative 3D Virtual Icebreaker.

More information about the project can be found at the project website.