Arctic sea-ice area and volume production: 1996/97 versus 1997/98
Abstract:The RADARSAT geophysical processor system (RGPS) produces measurements of ice motion and estimates of ice thickness using repeat synthetic aperture radar maps of the Arctic Ocean. From the RGPS products, we compute the net deformation and advection of the winter ice cover using the motion observations, and the seasonal ice area and volume production using the estimates of ice thickness. The results from the winters of 1996/97 and 1997/98 are compared. The second winter is of particular interest because it coincides with the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) field program. The character of the deformation of the ice cover from the two years is very different. Over a domain covering a large part of the western Arctic Ocean (~2.5 × 106 km2), the net divergence of that area during the 6 months of the first winter was 2.7% and for the second winter was >9.3%. In a subregion where the SHEBA camp was located, the net divergence was almost 38% compared to a net divergence of the same subregion of ~9% in 1996/97. The resulting deformation created a much larger volume of seasonal ice than in the earlier year. The net seasonal ice-volume production is 1.6 times (0.38 m vs 0.62 m) that of the first year. In addition to the larger divergence, this part of the ice cover advected a longer distance toward the Chukchi Sea over the same time-span. The total coverage of multi-year ice remained almost identical at ~2.08 × 106 km2, or 83% of the initial area of the domain. In this paper, we compare the behavior of the ice cover over the two winters and discuss these observations in the context of large-scale ice motion and atmospheric-pressure pattern.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2002
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