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