Fracture of summer perennial sea ice by ocean swell as a result of Arctic storms
Article first published online: 28 JUN 2012
©2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans (1978–2012)
Volume 117, Issue C6, June 2012
How to Cite
2012), Fracture of summer perennial sea ice by ocean swell as a result of Arctic storms, J. Geophys. Res., 117, C06025, doi:10.1029/2011JC007221., , , and (
- Issue published online: 28 JUN 2012
- Article first published online: 28 JUN 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 MAY 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 23 MAR 2012
- Manuscript Received: 14 APR 2011
- sea ice;
 The Arctic summer minimum sea ice extent has experienced a decreasing trend since 1979, with an extreme minimum extent of 4.27 × 106 km2 in September 2007, and a similar minimum in 2011. Large expanses of open water in the Siberian, Laptev, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas result from declining summer sea ice cover, and consequently introduce long fetch within the Arctic Basin. Strong winds from migratory cyclones coupled with increasing fetch generate large waves which can propagate into the pack ice and break it up. On 06 September 2009, we observed the intrusion of large swells into the multiyear pack ice approximately 250 km from the ice edge. These large swells induced nearly instantaneous widespread fracturing of the multiyear pack ice, reducing the large, (>1 km diameter) parent ice floes to small (100–150 m diameter) floes. This process increased the total ice floe perimeter exposed to the open ocean, allowing for more efficient distribution of energy from ocean heat fluxes, and incoming radiation into the floes, thereby enhancing lateral melting. This process of sea ice decay is therefore presented as a potential positive feedback process that will accelerate the loss of Arctic sea ice.