Geophysical Research Letters

Summer sea ice motion from the 18 GHz channel of AMSR-E and the exchange of sea ice between the Pacific and Atlantic sectors



[1] We demonstrate that sea ice motion in summer can be derived reliably from the 18GHz channel of the AMSR-E instrument on the EOS Aqua platform. The improved spatial resolution of this channel with its lower sensitivity to atmospheric moisture seems to have alleviated various issues that have plagued summer motion retrievals from shorter wavelength observations. Two spatial filters improve retrieval quality: one reduces some of the microwave signatures associated with synoptic-scale weather systems and the other removes outliers. Compared with daily buoy drifts, uncertainties in motion are ∼3–4 km/day. Using the daily motion fields, we examine five years of summer ice area exchange between the Pacific and Atlantic sectors of the Arctic Ocean. With the sea-level pressure patterns during the summer of 2006 and 2007 favoring the export of sea ice into the Atlantic Sector, the regional outflow is ∼21% and ∼15% of the total sea ice retreat in the Pacific sector.