Science & Research








Sea-Ice Environmental Research Facility (SERF)

#30 Service Road 2 S.W., University of Manitoba, Winnipeg

The Sea-ice Environmental Research Facility (SERF) is the first experimental sea-ice facility in Canada. Located on the campus of the University of Manitoba, the main feature of the SERF facility is an outdoor seawater pool (60 feet long, 30 feet wide and 8 feet deep). It is equipped with a movable roof to control snow cover and ice growth, and various sensors and instruments to allow real-time monitoring. Along with the main pool, the facility has two oil research tubs. The SERF facility also includes a trailer laboratory and a storage building.
Along with the concurrent field studies onboard the Canadian Research Icebreaker Amundsen in the Arctic Ocean, and other campaigns of the Arctic Science Partnership, experimental studies at SERF will improve our ability to predict the impact of the rapid sea-ice loss on the marine ecosystem, on Arctic and global climates, on transport and biogeochemical cycles of greenhouse gases and contaminants, and on the human use of sea ice.

Scientific Objectives

  • To grow sea ice under controlled conditions and with various tracers for the study of its growth, properties, and roles in biogeochemical cycling of contaminants and greenhouse gases
  • To integrate such process-oriented mesocosm-scale studies with field-based studies in support of modeling and scaling initiatives to better understand and predict the sea ice environment under a changing climate

SERF Instrumentation/Sensors

  • Meteorological sensors at various heights (e.g T, P, RH, wind speed/direction, PAR)
  • L- and C-band polarimetric scatterometers and LiDAR
  • Real-time and high resolution T, S, SO, pCO2 sensors across ocean-sea ice-atmosphere interface
  • Real-time measurements of tropospheric mercury speciation (GEM, RGM, and HgP)
  • On-site trailer laboratory for pH, alkalinity, DIC, DOC, TC/TN measurements
  • On-campus laboratories with cold rooms, Class 100 clean rooms, LA/LC-ICP-MS, CVAFS, LC/GC, XRD, and SEM, among many other instruments and field equipment

SERF Experiments & Milestones

Principal Investigators

Dr. Fei Wang, Dr. David Barber, Dr. Tim Papakyriakou, and Dr. Søren Rysgaard , Dr. Gary Stern, Dr. Dustin IsLeifson.

Funding/Other Support

NSERC, Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Manitoba Research and Innovation Fund, Canada Excellence Research Chair program, ArcticNet, University of Manitoba.

For additional information, contact:
Dr. Feiyue Wang
Dave Binne – SERF Technician
Phone 204-261-0933

Fig. 1
Open water just before freeze-up. Credit: Sarah Wang.

Fig. 2
Geophysical and biogeochemical processes of frost flowers and young ice. Credit: Fei Wang.

Fig. 3
Pancake ice formed during 2013 campaign. Credit: Fei Wang.

Fig. 4
Microwave scattering from artificial sea ice pressure ridges. Credit: Megan Shields.

Fig. 5
Collecting young ice samples. Credit: Lucette Barber.

Fig. 6
Frost flowers grown at SERF. Credit: Fei Wang.

Fig. 7
Collecting ice cores from SERF. Credit: Fei Wang.

Fig. 8
Carbon flux work at SERF. Credit: Lucette Barber.

Fig. 9
Separate 3-m diameter by 1-m deep insulated fiberglass tank used for oil and ice studies. Credit: Nariman Firoozy.