Fresh Eyes on Ice

The freshwater ice on which Arctic ecosystems and communities depend is changing–with major implications for residents’ safety. The Fresh Eyes on Ice project asks you to make observations of river ice in Canada, Alaska, and other parts of North America to enable community safety and climate science. Your observations provide information for fishers, hunters, and travellers. They yield vital data for flood forecasting, for comparing with past and future observations, and for verifying (or “ground-truthing”) satellite measurements.

Safety First: Learn how to safely check the thickness of ice over freshwater by watching this video.

Go to Project Website


18 and up


Earth Science


Northern North America



What you'll do

  • Take pictures of ice on rivers and lakes.
  • Submit your observations to the science team and the National Weather Service using a website or cell phone app.
  • View the latest ice data taken by other volunteers.
  • In Alaska, Community-Based Monitoring Teams team with local scientists to collect ice data and promote ice safety. 


  • Time to get started: Minutes
  • Equipment: Smartphone with a camera
  • Knowledge: None. Video tutorials are available.

Get started!

  1. Go to the project website
  2. Download the GLOBE Observer mobile phone app.
  3. Head to any river or lake to make observations!  Freeze-up and break-up are critical observation periods, but mid-winter thaw events or open holes in the ice are also important to capture. Repeat photos of the same place are particularly valuable. 
  4. Share your observations of ice and snow conditions using either the GLOBE Observer mobile phone app or the Fresh Eyes On Ice portal webpage.

Learn More

Join the project’s Facebook group or follow is on Twitter at @FreshEyesonIce to get updates about ice conditions and see the latest shared images and videos. 
Educators: Download lesson Fresh Eyes on Ice lesson plans.

This true color map shows Alaska and the surrounding seas - the Bering Sea to the west, the Chuckchi Sea to the northwest, and Beaufort Sea to the north - and neighboring land masses - Russia across the water to the west, Canada to the east, and a corner of the continental US to the southeast. 46 colored dots are sprinkled over Alaska, in an irregular rainbow of colors from reds in the north to blues in the southeast roughly indicate the ice thickness. No legend is provided (visit the website!).
Screenshot from the Fresh Eyes on Ice data portal showing the historical average floating ice thickness at 46 stations around Alaska. The portal provides public access to historical and current information about ice in Alaska.
Image credit: Fresh Eyes on Ice data portal.
a lone snowmobile, tiny in the big landscape, travels away from us on an ice and snow-covered river. Low sunlight casts long shadows out onto the snow of the pine trees lining the riverbank. The sky is pale blue. The tree-covered hills on the far side of the river have fresh snow in their branches.
Frozen rivers are an important means of travel in Northern North America. Fresh Eyes on Ice supports community members sharing information about ice and ice dangers to keep one another safe.
Image credit: Photo from the Fresh Eyes on Ice project’s ice monitoring camera on the Kuskokwim River at Sleetmute. Image taken on February 15, 2023. Temperature -19.0 C.
Photo of a man in snow gear standing on ice.

Chris Arp


Photo of a woman with long red hair and wearing overalls talking to kids in a classroom.

Laura Oxtoby

Ecologist and Science Educator

Photo of a woman in cold weather gear holding a clipboard and talking to students outdoors on the snow covered ground.

Katie Spellman

Ecologist and Science Educatorbr>

Photo of a woman standing waist deep in marshy water.

Dana Brown

Ecologist & Geographer

Portrait photo of a woman with long dark black hair wearing a red hat and matching red sweater which contrasts with the snowy white background.

Elena Sparro

Soil Scientist & Education Outreach Director

Photo of a woman wearing heavy winter clothing, a large furry hat, standing on an ice and snow covered lake.

Brooke Woods

Fisheries Policy Analyst and Outreach Coordinator