Exceptional melt pond occurrence in the years 2007 and 2011 on the Arctic sea ice revealed from MODIS satellite data

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Abstract

[1] Melt ponds contribute to the ice-albedo feedback as they reduce the surface albedo of sea ice, and hence accelerate the decay of Arctic sea ice. Here, we analyze the melt pond fraction, retrieved from the MODIS sensor for the years 2000–2011 to characterize the spatial and temporal evolution. A significant anomaly of the relative melt pond fraction at the beginning of the melt season in June 2007 is documented. This is followed by above-average values throughout the entire summer. In contrast, the increase of the relative melt pond fraction at the beginning of June 2011 is within average values, but from mid-June, relative melt pond fraction exhibits values up to two standard deviations above the mean values of 30 ± 1.2% which are even higher than in Summer 2007.

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