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Recent changes in the Arctic melt season

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Abstract:

Melt-season duration, melt-onset and freeze-up dates are derived from satellite passive microwave data and analyzed from 1979 to 2005 over Arctic sea ice. Results indicate a shift towards a longer melt season, particularly north of Alaska and Siberia, corresponding to large retreats of sea ice observed in these regions. Although there is large interannual and regional variability in the length of the melt season, the Arctic is experiencing an overall lengthening of the melt season at a rate of about 2 weeks decade −1. In fact, all regions in the Arctic (except for the central Arctic) have statistically significant (at the 99% level or higher) longer melt seasons by >1 week decade −1. The central Arctic shows a statistically significant trend (at the 98% level) of 5.4 days decade −1. In 2005 the Arctic experienced its longest melt season, corresponding with the least amount of sea ice since 1979 and the warmest temperatures since the 1880s. Overall, the length of the melt season is inversely correlated with the lack of sea ice seen in September north of Alaska and Siberia, with a mean correlation of −0.8.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/172756406781811583

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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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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