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Climatic analysis of sea-ice variability in the Canadian Arctic from operational charts, 1980–2004

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We present a complete climatic analysis of sea-ice conditions in the Canadian Arctic based on digitized operational charts from the Canadian Ice Service for the period 1980–2004. The seasonal climatology, spatial variance and linear trends in total ice concentrations (CT) were calculated. The maximum reduction rate in CT was found in the Beaufort Sea (>24% decade −1) and in the Davis Strait/Labrador Sea region (>18% decade−1) during spring and summer. Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis performed on monthly CT deviations yielded four significant EOF modes explaining 32% of the total variance. The spatial pattern, temporal behaviour and seasonality of these four EOF modes are discussed and correlated with fields of sea-level pressure, surface winds, surface air temperature and sea-surface temperature monthly anomalies. These results point to the dominant influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation on CT decadal anomalies during the cold season, while climate variability in the Pacific influences CT variations in the Beaufort Sea region during spring–summer.

Document Type: Research Article


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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