Short Name:

SCICEX: The Science Ice Exercise

The Science Ice Exercise (SCICEX) program is a collaboration between the U.S. Navy and the marine research community to utilize nuclear-powered submarines for the study of the Arctic Ocean. Unlike surface ships, submarines have the unique and valuable ability to operate and take measurements regardless of sea ice cover and weather conditions. The goal of the program is to acquire comprehensive data about Arctic sea ice, water properties, and bathymetry. SCICEX is important because it adds critical pieces to the overall information needed to analyze sea ice and ocean dynamics - ice thickness and bathymetry data in particular but also chemical, biological, and physical oceanographic data. With the success of the initial project in 1993, the U.S. Navy and the National Science Foundation (NSF) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in 1994 that called for five more dedicated SCICEX missions. The dedicated SCICEX cruises occurred in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999. In October of 1998, due in large part to a drastic reduction in the size of the nuclear submarine fleet, the U.S. Navy announced that they could no longer facilitate the dedicated missions. In an effort to try and continue the SCICEX program, the Navy and the science community agreed upon shorter duration missions that included data collection for science but did not include civilian scientists on board the submarines. These were coined Science Accommodation Missions (SAMs). To date, four SAMs have been completed in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2005. More routine opportunities to collect SCICEX data during SAMs are expected. The SCICEX program is a contribution to AON. SCICEX data can be found by going to the SCICEX page at the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

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