Melt ponds pattern a ridged and hummocked multiyear ice floe surrounded by decaying ice. July 2011, 1,000' altitude during helicopter reconnaissance. (Alice Orlich)

About the Arctic Shipborne Sea Ice Standardization Tool (ASSIST)

ASSIST is a data collection tool that supports standardization of observation methods throughout the Arctic Ocean. Observers on vessels from multiple nations are using ASSIST to report near real-time visual sea ice observations.

This observation method follows the WMO (1970) convention to be compatible with previous protocols (including Egg Code, ASPeCt, Canadian MANICE) with special attention to characterizing Arctic specific conditions, including surface melt conditions, sediment and ice algae.

Ice Watch is an international, collaborative program to coordinate Arctic-wide visual sea ice observations collected from ships operating in ice-covered seas of the northern hemisphere, with resources to:
  • record ship based sea ice observations using the Arctic Shipborne Sea Ice Standardization Tool (ASSIST) software
  • access data collected on current cruises using ASSIST
  • archive and retrieve past observations

Download data: Download data here. The data archive is hosted by the Geographic Information Network of Alaska (GINA).

ASSIST software has been developed to help you collect and archive data. You will need to create an Ice Watch account to register your participation, and upload your data. We recommend you use a Google account to register. If you are unable to use a Google account, you can apply for a GINA account. To participate in Ice Watch please:

  1. Download ASSIST
  2. Download observation sheets and codes, and acquaint yourself with ASPeCt observation protocols.
  3. Create and manage cruise datasets 
  4. Upload and manage observations

You will require an account that has been verified by the Ice Watch team to create cruise data sets, upload and manage data. 

Contact us...

  • to link to our database
  • to use ASSIST in your own data collection
  • if you have old Ice Watch data that is not in the ASSIST format

Join our mailing list to receive e-mail updates from the Ice Watch team. Or, visit us on Facebook!