ICEX - Automatic weather station

CMR delivers automatic observation stations that can be deployed on the ice for environmental and ice drift monitoring.

ICEX - Automatic weather station

Picture: Airdrop of an ICEX

Meteorologists use computer models as a tool for forecasting the weather. Important inputs to the models, for reliable weather forecasts, is observations from the area. ICEX is an automatic weather station for monitoring air pressure and temperature in the arctic/antarctic. Observations from ICEX in the Arctic and Barents Sea are in addition to weather forecasting purposes also used in connection with climate research, both nationally and internationally.

ICEX in brief:

  • Is a rugged, ice bear proof and easy instrument to deploy on the ice 
  • Is designed for parachute deployment
  • Uses the Iridium satellite system for transmitting data.
  • The batteries inside the capsule gives an expected lifetime of 3-5 years.

The current version of the ICEX is the result of a continuous development process at CMR since 1975. The development has been done in close co-operation with the Norwegian Polar Institute and the Royal Norwegian Airforce. Various deployment methods, aircraft types and parachutes have been used, and the system appears to be insensitive to all the three. The ICEXAIR has been deployed from P3 Orion, C-130 Hercules and also from Dornier 262. In 2011 the telemetry was changed from Argos to Iridium in cooperation with Environment Canada. The ICEXAIR has been used by an increasing number of nations, including Canada, Germany, UK, Australia, USA and Japan.

Picure: Left – ICEX, Right – Schemtical drawing.


Video: Airdrop of an ICEX instrument over the Barents sea


Did you know – Predicting the weather in the Barents sea is a challenge. The weather changes quickly and offers powerful low pressures and icing. The ice cover in the Barents Sea vary widely, both during the year and from year to year. Ice cover has its greatest expansion in the period March to May, and is at its minimum during the months of August to September. Observations at the surface gives the best data to weather models. Such observations can not be done with satellites, but only with observation stations at ground level. In 2006, CMR delivered ten meteorological weather stations to Statoil for collection of data in the Barents sea. These stations monitor ice drift, and are equipped with meteorological sensors that provide important observational data in an area with low observation density. Three of these weather stations were deployed on ice through parachute drops from the Armed Forces Hercules C-130 over the Barents Sea in March 2006.