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On the link between SAR-derived sea ice melt and development of the summer upper ocean mixed layer in the North Open Water Polynya

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We examine the ability of SAR-derived landfast sea ice thermodynamic state surrounding the North Water Polynya to predict the timing of a shallow, stably stratified summer ocean mixed layer in the region. Radarsat-1 ScanSAR is used to derive melt and pond onset dates over landfast sea ice surrounding the polynya, describing its thermodynamic evolution. Salinity and temperature profiles, connected in time and space, are complemented by potential density profiles and mixed layer depths, which describe the evolution of the upper ocean mixed layer between 4 April and 21 July 1998. Surface salinity driven potential density stratification and summer mixed layer depths are temporally coincident. Sea ice-ocean connection is first described at the local scale, then regionally. At the local scale, a reduction in surface salinity occurs between the melt and pond onsets over landfast sea ice. At the polynya scale, interpolated pond onset date is highly effective at predicting the timing of a thin, stably stratified summer ocean mixed layer; this has consequences for the potential prediction of timing of maximum ecosystem productivity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Earth Observation Science, Wallace Building, 125 Dysart Road, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3T 2N2 2: Department of Geography, 2500 University Drive NW, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 1N4

Publication date: 01 January 2007

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