This pilot study is aimed to bring together experts in wave and ice dynamics to develop a methodology to identify the exact instant at which sea-ice cracks or breaks. To develop a systematic approach to measure wave-induced sea-ice breakup international collaboration is vital because: (i) the lack of quantitative methods to identify wave-induced sea-ice breakup is a global problem; (ii) for a methodology to be adopted by the international community, it is only natural that the methodology is developed by the community itself; (iii) to further and progress the development of the methodology, our experience and our physical understanding of wave-induced sea-ice breakup, these collaborations need to be fostered.
Svalbard is the ideal location for this international collaborative pilot project due to its geographic location within the Arctic Ocean, strong variability of ice/sea/weather condition and the logistic and research facilities present on the archipelago. When a method has been developed and verified, it presents opportunities for continued and expanded collaborations to produce a large dataset of wave and sea-ice measurements, not only in Svalbard, but across the Arctic. Such a large network of low-cost ice breakup sensors could be used for data assimilation in coupled air-sea-ice weather models, such as AROME-Arctic and support physical parameterizations of wave-induced sea-ice breakup for implementation in coupled operational forecasting models. This pilot study therefore functions to increase future funding opportunities to create a network of low-cost instruments across Svalbard. To support further progress in the field of wave-ice interactions, the instrument design (as based on open-source electronics and off-the-shelf sensors) and data obtained will be made available compliant with Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observation System (SIOS).