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Lasting Collaboration: The History of the National Ice Center

Lasting Collaboration: The History of the National Ice Center

By Emily Senesac (emily.senesac@noaa.gov)

In working to achieve the mission of the agency, the NWS often collaborates with other organizations and groups to improve accuracy and protect lives.

As part of a joint effort between the U.S. Navy and the Department of Commerce to increase efficiency and productivity, the Navy began a lasting association with NOAA and the National Weather Bureau in 1956. As technology continued to advance over the following decades, the development of weather satellites and the resulting impact on both meteorology and oceanography further emphasized the importance of this interagency cooperation. Satellite imagery and data also proved invaluable to one process in particular: global ice analyses and forecasts. In 1976, the Joint Ice Center (JIC) was created, made up of personnel from both NOAA and the Navy, with a specific focus on providing these types of analyses and forecasts. 

In 1995, the JIC evolved to include another important agency: the U.S. Coast Guard. As the JIC became the U.S. National Ice Center, the Coast Guard contributed many critical services, including the use of aircraft, icebreakers, and Marine Safety Officers, that aided in onsite aerial and ship observations as well as timely ship and station reports.

In May 2020, the NOAA component of the U.S. National Ice Center transitioned from the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service to the National Weather Service, bringing the organization in line with its future goals, which includes a greater focus on prediction capabilities in addition to ice monitoring and analysis. 


Additional Reading:

News Release - NOAA’s Component of the U.S. National Ice Center Now Part of NWS: https://www.weather.gov/news/usnic

National Ice Center Website: https://www.natice.noaa.gov/