Observations of the annual cycle of sea ice temperature and mass balance

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Abstract

A vertical array of thermistors coupled with an autonomous data-logging system was used to obtain a 15-month record of ice temperature profiles in a multiyear floe in the Beaufort Sea. This record was used to monitor atmosphere, ice and ocean temperatures, determine changes in the ice mass balance, and infer estimates of the ocean heat flux and the snow thermal conductivity. Ablation during the summer melt season consisted of approximately 0.3 m of snow melt, 0.67 m of ice surface ablation and 0.25 m of bottom ablation. There was 0.45 m of bottom accretion during the growth season. The annually averaged ocean heat flux was 4 W m−2, with a summertime value of 9 W m−2. Comparing these results to earlier studies conducted in the same region showed considerable interannual variability in summer melting. The thermal conductivity of snow cover was approximately 0.3 W m−1 K−1 during winter.

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