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Trends in the length of the Southern Ocean sea-ice season, 1979-99

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Satellite passive-microwave data have been used to calculate and map the length of the sea-ice season throughout the Southern Ocean for each year 1979-99. Mapping the slopes of the lines of linear least-squares fit through the 21 years of resulting season-length data reveals a detailed pattern of trends in the length of the sea-ice season around the Antarctic continent. Specifically, most of the Ross Sea ice cover has, on average over the 21 years, undergone a lengthening of the sea-ice season, whereas most of the Amundsen Sea ice cover and almost the entire Bellingshausen Sea ice cover have undergone a shortening of the sea-ice season. Results for the Weddell Sea are mixed, with the northwestern portion of the sea having experienced a shortening of the sea-ice season but a substantial area in the south-central portion of the sea having experienced a lengthening of the ice season. Overall, the area of the Southern Ocean experiencing a lengthening of the sea-ice season by at least 1 day per year over the period 1979-99 is 5.6 × 106 km2, whereas the area experiencing a shortening of the sea-ice season by at least 1 day per year is 46% less than that, at 3.0 × 106 km2.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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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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