Satellite-based sea ice thickness changes in the Laptev Sea from 2002 to 2017: comparison to mooring observations

jakob.belter [ at ]


The gridded sea ice thickness (SIT) climate data record (CDR) produced by the European Space Agency (ESA) Sea Ice Climate Change Initiative Phase 2 (CCI-2) is the longest available, Arctic-wide SIT record covering the period from 2002 to 2017. SIT data are based on radar altimetry measurements of sea ice freeboard from the Environmental Satellite (ENVISAT) and CryoSat-2 (CS2). The CCI-2 SIT has previously been validated with in situ observations from drilling, airborne remote sensing, electromagnetic (EM) measurements and upward-looking sonars (ULSs) from multiple ice-covered regions of the Arctic. Here we present the Laptev Sea CCI-2 SIT record from 2002 to 2017 and use newly acquired ULS and upward-looking acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) sea ice draft (VAL) data for validation of the gridded CCI-2 and additional satellite SIT products. The ULS and ADCP time series provide the first long-term satellite SIT validation data set from this important source region of sea ice in the Transpolar Drift. The comparison of VAL sea ice draft data with gridded monthly mean and orbit trajectory CCI-2 data, as well as merged CryoSat-2–SMOS (CS2SMOS) sea ice draft, shows that the agreement between the satellite and VAL draft data strongly depends on the thickness of the sampled ice. Rather than providing mean sea ice draft, the considered satellite products provide modal sea ice draft in the Laptev Sea. Ice drafts thinner than 0.7 m are overestimated, while drafts thicker than approximately 1.3 m are increasingly underestimated by all satellite products investigated for this study. The tendency of the satellite SIT products to better agree with modal sea ice draft and underestimate thicker ice needs to be considered for all past and future investigations into SIT changes in this important region. The performance of the CCI-2 SIT CDR is considered stable over time; however, observed trends in gridded CCI-2 SIT are strongly influenced by the uncertainties of ENVISAT and CS2 and the comparably short investigation period.

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DOI 10.5194/tc-14-2189-2020

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Belter, H. J. , Krumpen, T. , Hendricks, S. , Hoelemann, J. , Janout, M. , Ricker, R. and Haas, C. (2020): Satellite-based sea ice thickness changes in the Laptev Sea from 2002 to 2017: comparison to mooring observations , The Cryosphere, 14 , pp. 2189-2203 . doi: 10.5194/tc-14-2189-2020

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