Changing sea ice melt parameters in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Implications for the future presence of multiyear ice

Authors

  • Stephen E. L. Howell,

    1. Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change and Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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  • Adrienne Tivy,

    1. Foothills Climate Analysis Facility, Centre for Alpine and Arctic Climate Research, Department of Geography, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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  • John J. Yackel,

    1. Foothills Climate Analysis Facility, Centre for Alpine and Arctic Climate Research, Department of Geography, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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  • Brent G. T. Else,

    1. Centre for Earth Observation Science, Department of Environment and Geography, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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  • Claude R. Duguay

    1. Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change and Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Abstract

[1] Estimates of annual sea ice melt onset, freeze onset, and melt duration are made within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) using SeaWinds/QuikSCAT data from 2000 to 2007. The average date of melt onset occurred on day 150, the average freeze onset occurred on day 266, and the average number of days of melt was 116. Melt onset occurred first, and freeze onset occurred last within the Amundsen, Western Arctic Waterway, and Eastern Parry Channel regions, whereas the reverse occurred in the Queen Elizabeth Islands (QEI) and the M'Clure and Viscount-Melville regions. Multiyear sea ice (MYI) increases occurred from 2000 to 2004 because of dynamic import and first-year sea ice (FYI) being promoted to MYI, but this replenishment virtually stopped from 2005 to 2007, coincident with longer melt seasons. Only after two consecutive long melt seasons (2005–2006) and almost no replenishment were regions to the south of the QEI cleared of MYI. We argue that this is because MYI must slowly ablate on the underside while in transit within the CAA from the small oceanic heat flux and can therefore survive for several years in southern regions without replenishment. Net positive dynamic MYI import into the CAA was observed in 2007 following MYI removal during 2005–2006. Longer melt seasons will continue to reduce the inventory of FYI in the CAA following the melt season. Longer melt seasons within the CAA will likely not reduce MYI dynamic import, but it remains to be seen whether or not this MYI will be able to survive longer melt seasons as it migrates to the southern regions.

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