Geophysical Research Letters

Mean dynamic topography of the Arctic Ocean



[1] ICESat and Envisat altimetry data provide measurements of the instantaneous sea surface height (SSH) across the Arctic Ocean, using lead and open water elevation within the sea ice pack. First, these data were used to derive two independent mean sea surface (MSS) models by stacking and averaging along-track SSH profiles gathered between 2003 and 2009. The ICESat and Envisat MSS data were combined to construct the high-resolution ICEn MSS. Second, we estimate the 5.5-year mean dynamic topography (MDT) of the Arctic Ocean by differencing the ICEn MSS with the new GOCO02S geoid model, derived from GRACE and GOCE gravity. Using these satellite-only data we map the major features of Arctic Ocean dynamical height that are consistent with in situ observations, including the topographical highs and lows of the Beaufort and Greenland Gyres, respectively. Smaller-scale MDT structures remain largely unresolved due to uncertainties in the geoid at short wavelengths.