Autonomous observations of solar energy partitioning in first-year sea ice in the Arctic Basin

Marcel.Nicolaus [ at ]


A Spectral Radiation Buoy (SRB) was developed to autonomously measure the spectral incident, reflected, and transmitted spectral solar radiation (350-800 nm) above and below sea ice. The SRB was deployed on drifting first-year sea ice near the North Pole in mid-April 2012, together with velocity and ice mass balance buoys. The buoys drifted southward and reached Fram Strait after approximately 7 months, covering a complete melt season. At the SRB site, snowmelt started on 10 June, and had completely disappeared by 14 July. Surface albedo was above 0.85 until snowmelt onset and decreased rapidly with the progression of snowmelt. Albedo was lowest on 14 July, when the observed surface was likely a mixture of bare ice and melt pond(s). The transmitted irradiance measured under the ice was largest in July, with a monthly average of 20 W m(-2), compared to <0.3 W m(-2) premelt. Under-ice irradiance peaked on 19-20 July, with a daily average around 35 W m(-2). From mid-April to mid-September, the solar energy transmitted through the ice into the ocean contributed about two-thirds of the energy required for the observed bottom melt (0.49 m). The energy absorbed by the ice after snowmelt was enough to melt an additional 0.1 m of ice. Solar energy incident on open water and melt ponds provided significant additional heating, indicating solar heating could explain all of the observed bottom melt in this region in summer 2012.

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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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DOI 10.1002/2013jc009459

Cite as
Wang, C. , Granskog, M. A. , Gerland, S. , Hudson, S. R. , Perovich, D. K. , Nicolaus, M. , Ivan Karlsen, T. , Fossan, K. and Bratrein, M. (2014): Autonomous observations of solar energy partitioning in first-year sea ice in the Arctic Basin , Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 119 (3), pp. 2066-2080 . doi: 10.1002/2013jc009459


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