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Keywords:

  • Arctic;
  • ice;
  • thickness

[1] September 2007 marked a record minimum in sea ice extent. While there have been many studies published recently describing the minimum and its causes, little is known about how the ice thickness has changed in the run up to, and following, the summer of 2007. Using satellite radar altimetry data, covering the Arctic Ocean up to 81.5° North, we show that the average winter sea ice thickness anomaly, after the melt season of 2007, was 0.26 m below the 2002/2003 to 2007/2008 average. More strikingly, the Western Arctic anomaly was 0.49 m below the six-year mean in the winter of 2007/2008. These results show no evidence of short-term preconditioning through ice thinning between 2002 and 2007 but show that, after the record minimum ice extent in 2007, the average ice thickness was reduced, particularly in the Western Arctic.