Thin Sea Ice, Thick Snow, and Widespread Negative Freeboard Observed During N-ICE2015 North of Svalbard


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Thomas.Krumpen [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

In recent years, sea-ice conditions in the Arctic Ocean changed substantially toward a younger and thinner sea-ice cover. To capture the scope of these changes and identify the differences between individual regions, in situ observations from expeditions are a valuable data source. We present a continuous time series of in situ measurements from the N-ICE2015 expedition from January to June 2015 in the Arctic Basin north of Svalbard, comprising snow buoy and ice mass balance buoy data and local and regional data gained from electromagnetic induction (EM) surveys and snow probe measurements from four distinct drifts. The observed mean snow depth of 0.53 m for April to early June is 73% above the average value of 0.30 m from historical and recent observations in this region, covering the years 1955–2017. The modal total ice and snow thicknesses, of 1.6 and 1.7 m measured with ground-based EM and airborne EM measurements in April, May, and June 2015, respectively, lie below the values ranging from 1.8 to 2.7 m, reported in historical observations from the same region and time of year. The thick snow cover slows thermodynamic growth of the underlying sea ice. In combination with a thin sea-ice cover this leads to an imbalance between snow and ice thickness, which causes widespread negative freeboard with subsequent flooding and a potential for snow-ice formation. With certainty, 29% of randomly located drill holes on level ice had negative freeboard.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
46566
DOI 10.1002/2017JC012865

Cite as
Rosell, A. , Itkin, P. , King, J. , Divine, D. , Wang, C. , Granskog, M. , Krumpen, T. and Gerland, S. (2018): Thin Sea Ice, Thick Snow, and Widespread Negative Freeboard Observed During N-ICE2015 North of Svalbard , Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans . doi: 10.1002/2017JC012865


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