Atmospheric forcing of sea ice in Hudson Bay during the fall period, 1980–2005



[1] The principal objective of this study is to describe the autumn sea ice regime of Hudson Bay in the context of atmospheric forcing from 1980 to 2005. Both gridded Canadian Ice Service (CIS) data and Passive Microwave (PMW) data are used to examine the freezeup period for weeks of year (WOY) 43–52. Sea ice concentration (SIC) anomalies reveal statistically significant trends, ranging from −23.3% to −26.9% per decade, during WOY 43–48 using the CIS data and trends ranging from −12.7% to −16.8% per decade during WOY 45–50 using the PMW data. Surface air temperature (SAT) anomalies are highly correlated with SIC anomalies (r2 = 0.52–0.72) and with sea ice extents (r2 = 0.53–0.72). CIS data show that mean sea ice extents based on SICs ≥80% (consolidated ice) have decreased by 1.05 × 105 to 1.17 × 105 km2 for every 1°C increase in temperature in late November; PMW data show similar results. Regression analysis between SAT and standardized climate indices over the 1951–2005 period show that the East Pacific/North Pacific index is highly predictive of interannual SATs followed by the North Atlantic Oscillation and Arctic Oscillation indices. The data show that the Hudson Bay area has recently undergone a climate regime shift, in the mid 1990s, which has resulted in a significant reduction in sea ice during the freezeup period and that these changes appear to be related to atmospheric indices.