Thickness and surface-properties of different sea-ice regimes within the Arctic Trans Polar Drift: Data from summers 2001, 2004 and 2007

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Abstract

[1] Large-scale sea-ice thickness and surface property data were obtained in three summers and in three different sea-ice regimes in the Arctic Trans-Polar Drift (TPD) by means of helicopter electromagnetic sounding. Distribution functions P of sea-ice thickness and of the height, spacing, and density of sails were analyzed to characterize ice regimes of different ages and deformations. Results suggest that modal ice thickness is affected by the age of a sea-ice regime and that the degree of deformation is represented by the shape of P. Mean thickness changes with both age and deformation. Standard error calculations showed that representative mean and modal thickness could be obtained with transect lengths of 15 km and 50 km, respectively, in less deformed ice regimes such as those around the North Pole. In heavier deformed ice regimes closer to Greenland, 100 km transects were necessary for mean thickness determination and a representative modal thickness could not be obtained at all. Mean sail height did not differ between ice regimes, whereas sail density increased with the degree of deformation. Furthermore, the fraction of level ice, open melt ponds, and open water along the transects were determined. Although overall ice thickness in the central TPD was 50% thinner in 2007 than in 2001, first-year ice (FYI) was not significantly thinner in 2007 than FYI in 2001, with a decrease of only 0.3 m. Thinner FYI in 2007 only occurred close to the sea-ice edge, where open water covered more than 10% of the surface. Melt pond coverage retrieved from laser measurements was 15% in both the 2004 MYI regime and the 2007 FYI regime.

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