The Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) has long-term experience in hydrometeorological support and selecting optimal routes of navigation along the Northern Sea Route. One of the key challenges for hydrometeorological support and safe and cost-efficient navigation is developing an automatic method for selecting the optimal ship route in ice. In this study, we present results of testing AARI auto-routing and discuss its perspectives.
In the middle of the 20th century, extensive studies began along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and in the Arctic Basin. Upgrading cargo and icebreaking fleets caused changes in ice navigation tactics. It has become necessary to navigate in fast ice, extend the length of the navigation period, increase the speed of a ship with icebreaker assistance, and increase the capacity of the NSR. As a result, new requirements for navigation support have been developed. Specialized ice information on ice conditions directly along the ship lines has become a necessity. These tasks require the study of the ice cover as a navigational environment and development of algorithms to assess quantitatively the impact of sea ice on navigation in ice-covered waters. Analysis of field observations reveals differences between ice conditions along a ship route and those determined over a sea region or entire sea area. In 1961, the Department of Ice Navigation Study was established in the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) to study ice cover as a navigational environment and identify quantitative indicators of ice impact on the difficulty of shipping. Since then, AARI experts have accumulated great experience in providing specialized hydrometeorological information to vessels operating along the NSR, including practical and methodical experience of optimal ship routing in particular.