Arctic sea ice conditions in spring 2009–2013 prior to melt

Authors

  • Jacqueline A. Richter-Menge,

    Corresponding author
    1. Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Engineer Research and Development Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
    • Corresponding author: J. A. Richter-Menge, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Engineer Research and Development Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 72 Lyme Rd., Hanover, NH 03755, USA. (Jacqueline.A.Richter-Menge@usace.army.mil)

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  • Sinead L. Farrell

    1. Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA
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Abstract

[1] Measurements from NASA IceBridge airborne surveys in March/April 2009–2013 over the western Arctic Ocean are presented in the context of previous observations to assess changes in the characteristics of the sea ice cover during the last decade, taking into account spatial and temporal limitations in the available data. Following a precipitous drop in the amount and thickness of multiyear (MY) ice in 2007–2008, the characteristics of the ice cover have remained largely consistent through March 2013. The central Arctic continues to be dominated by MY ice with mean and modal thicknesses of 3.2 m and 2.4 m, respectively. The southern Beaufort and Chukchi Sea region is a complex mixture of ~75% first-year ice and 25% MY ice. IceBridge observations indicate that the mean thickness in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas may have decreased from ~2.5 m to as low as 1.6 m over the 5 year period.

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