The importance of large scale sea ice drift and ice type distribution on ice extent in the Weddell Sea

Sandra.Schwegmann [ at ]


In austral winter large parts of Antarctic Seas are covered by sea ice. This modifies the exchange of heat, mass and momentum between ocean and atmosphere. The knowledge of ice extent and its variability is necessary for an adequate simulation of those fluxes and thus for climate modelling. The goal of this study is the observation of interannual and seasonal ice extent variations and their underlying causes. Variability is analysed by using monthly means of microwave and scatterometer satellite data. Results are correlated with ice drift variations calculated from a Finite Element Sea ice-Ocean Model (FESOM) and with satellite derived sea ice drift products to determine the dependency of ice extent on sea ice drift. An additional cause for changing ice extent could be the variability of ice type distribution, i.e. the contribution of first and second year ice to the total ice covered area. These ice types are determined on monthly time scales from scatterometer satellite data. Ice class distribution and sea ice drift variability are compared with the characteristics and variability of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) to evaluate the relative importance of different sea ice parameters for shaping Weddell Sea ice extent and its variability.

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American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting, 14 Dec 2009 - 18 Dec 2009, San Francisco, California, US.
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Schwegmann, S. , Haas, C. , Timmermann, R. , Gerdes, R. and Lemke, P. (2009): The importance of large scale sea ice drift and ice type distribution on ice extent in the Weddell Sea , American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting, San Francisco, California, US, 14 December 2009 - 18 December 2009 .

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