15 December 2019
Ship navigation at sea and especially in ice -covered oceans is facilitated by radar systems. In this regard, RV Polarstern is equipped with several marine radar systems, which are used to identify other ships and obstacles. When moving through pack ice, these systems offer information on the presence of channels or massively deformed pack ice.
The radar system features a rotating antenna that is mounted on the observation deck, above the bridge. The antenna transmit microwave pulses at short intervals, which are reflected back to the radar system by the water or pack ice. This produces an image of the positions of ice floes within a radius of 3 nautical miles (ca. 5,4 km) and their sizes in relation to the ship. The imaging technique offers an undiminished view and remains unaffected by weather or darkness, i.e., it can penetrate rainclouds and fog nd therefore offers an undiminished view even at night (you can find more information on marine radar systems here). The sector without information is blogged by ship facilities. An example for a scientific application of a marine radar system to study sea ice deformation can be found here.
The RV Polarstern’s marine radar systems will continue to operate throughout the drift phase and images produced by the system are transmitted to Bremerhaven several times a day. The imaging system, which shows Polarstern in the centre of the screen, offers vital information on floe movements, deformation and formation of cracks in the ship’s immediate vicinity. Sea ice near Polarstern is still very thin and vulnerable. Hence, strong winds in the past weeks have repeatedly led to the formation of large leads or ice ridges because of ice motion.
On meereisportal.de we now show daily here updated video sequences of the RV Polarstern ship radar images.