Academic Year 2023-2024
Institution University of Aberdeen


School: School of Biological Sciences

Project: A sustainable future for Arctic marine shipping using Artificial Intelligence

Supervisors: Dr William D Harcourt, Dr Georgios Leontidis, Prof B Rea, Prof Matteo Spagnolo & Dr Lauren McWhinnie

Undergraduate Education: BSc Biological Sciences, Nottingham Trent University

Postgraduate Education: MSc Data Sciences, University of Aberdeen

Research: With the ongoing melting of sea ice in the Arctic, new maritime pathways are emerging, transforming the region’s navigational landscape. Among these, the North West Passage, a strategic sea lane through the Arctic Ocean, is gaining prominence. This route, once considered impassable, is seeing a notable uptick in the diversity and number of vessels traversing its waters each year. As the ice recedes, what was once a nautical myth may soon become a vital shipping corridor. This shift symbolizes a significant change in global shipping dynamics, it also highlights the broader environmental changes affecting the Arctic, underscoring the need for sustainable navigation practices in these fragile waters. I am interested in using Machine Learning to automate the detection of temporary structures in sea ice, known as leads. These are quasi- linear structures formed when sea ice drifts apart by dynamic processes. Ice leads play key roles in energy transfer between the sea and the atmosphere as they are gaps in the surrounding insulating sea ice. They may also be employed by ships using them to save fuel and time, as sea ice uses more fuel to cut through. I will use SAR images and optical images as a reference point to build an extensive, labelled dataset of arctic sea ice leads, using masks. I aim to use segmentation of satellite images to measure the length and orientation of arctic sea ice lead and generate automated composite maps of the Canadian Arctic. This is a highly interdisciplinary project as it combines elements of geoscience, remote sensing and machine learning with shipping logistics.


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