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Interannual variability of the Storfjorden (Svalbard) ice cover and ice production observed by ERS-2 SAR

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The Storfjorden (Svalbard) ice cover has been observed via European remote-sensing satellite (ERS-2) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) over two winters from 1997 to 1999 that showed a high interannual variability in atmospheric forcing. This has resulted in different scenarios in the formation of the ice cover. We reconstruct the ice-cover evolution with a simple ice-drift and polynya model consistent in parameterization for both winters and with ERS-2 SAR and ground-truth observations. The observations showed that, during the rather cold winter of 1997/98, a fast-ice cover developed over the whole northern part of Storfjorden that closed the ice advection through two sounds. A polynya of up to 6000 km2 developed persistently under northerly winds. The mild winter of 1998/99 showed a different pattern in the Storfjorden ice cover: the fast-ice extent was reduced to the coastal region, so ice motion was more important than in the previous winter. A larger thin-ice and open-water area over the whole fjord resulted in lower total ice production, but relocated the strong ice production sites to shallower waters. Thus, freezing in a large region of shallow waters in the north of Storfjorden in 1998/99 produced denser waters than freezing in a smaller polynya over the deeper centre of Storfjorden during the colder winter 1997/98.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/172756401781818392

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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