Role of Ice Dynamics in the Sea Ice Mass Balance

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Abstract

Over the past decade, the Arctic Ocean and Beaufort Sea ice pack has been less extensive and thinner than has been observed during the previous 35 years [e.g., Wadhams and Davis, 2000; Tucker et al., 2001; Rothrock et al., 1999; Parkinson and Cavalieri, 2002; Comiso, 2002]. During the summers of 2007 and 2008, the ice extents for both the Beaufort Sea and the Northern Hemisphere were the lowest on record. Mechanisms causing recent sea ice change in the Pacific Arctic and the Beaufort Sea are under investigation on many fronts [e.g., Drobot and Maslanik, 2003; Shimada et al., 2006]; the mechanisms include increased ocean surface warming due to Pacific Ocean water inflow to the region and variability in meteorological and surface conditions. However, in most studies addressing these events, the impact of sea ice dynamics, specifically deformation, has not been measured in detail.

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