• SeaWinds/QuikSCAT;
  • sea ice;
  • remote sensing;
  • Canadian Arctic

[1] A remotely sensed sea ice melt algorithm utilizing SeaWinds/QuikSCAT (QuikSCAT) data is developed and applied to sea ice the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) from 2000 to 2004. The extended advanced very high resolution radiometer Polar Pathfinder (APP-x) data set is used to identify spatially coupled relationships between sea ice melt and radiative forcings. In situ data from the Collaborative Interdisciplinary Cryospheric Experiment (C-ICE) (2000, 2001, and 2002) and the Canadian Arctic Shelf Exchange Study (CASES) (2004) are used to validate APP-x data during the melt period. QuikSCAT-detected maps of melt onset, pond onset, and drainage are created from 2000 to 2004, and results indicate considerable interannual variability of melt dynamics within the CAA. In some years, melt stages are positively spatially autocorrelated, whereas other years exhibit a negative or no spatial autocorrelation. QuikSCAT-detected stages of melt are found to be influenced by interannual varying amounts and timing of radiative forcing making prediction difficult. The spatiotemporal variability of ice melt also influences the distribution of ice within the CAA. The lower-latitude regions of the CAA are shown to have accumulated increasing concentrations of multiyear ice from 2000 to 2005. This paper concludes with a discussion of the interplay between thermodynamic and dynamic sea ice processes likely to have contributed to this trend.