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Ice motion and driving forces during a spring ice shove on the Alaskan Chukchi coast

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An ice shove along the Alaskan Chukchi Sea coast occurred in June 2001, affecting the communities of Barrow and Wainwright, some 150 km apart. Aerial photography before and after the event allowed measurement of ice displacement vectors near Barrow where up to 395 m of ice motion was accommodated almost entirely in discrete ridges up to 5 m high. The forces required to build these ridges are estimated at 35–62 kN m−1, and driving forces of the whole event are investigated. Most ice deformation at or near the beach coincided with local onshore winds, but the event was preceded by the compaction of pack ice in the central Chukchi Sea and the closure of the coastal flaw lead, driven by the larger-scale wind field acting over several days before-hand. Whether this acted to impart pack-ice stress to the coast or simply to create a critical fetch of consolidated ice is uncertain. The near-melting near-isothermal state of the ice may have been a complicit factor and affected the behavior of the land-fast ice. Coastal morphology and bathymetry affected the location of deformation. This study highlights the range of scales at which processes act and culminate to have implications for Arctic communities.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-03-01

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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