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Sea Ice Thickness Variability in Storfjorden, Svalbard

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  • Physics


a57A125 61..68 Sea-ice thickness variability in Storfjorden, Svalbard S. HENDRICKS,1 S. GERLAND,2 L.H. SMEDSRUD,3 C. HAAS,4 A.A. PFAFFHUBER,5 F. NILSEN6,7 1Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bussestrasse 24, D-27570 Bremerhaven, Germany E-mail: [email protected] 2Norwegian Polar Institute, Fram Centre, Hjalmar Johansens gate 14, NO-9296 Tromsø, Norway 3Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, University of Bergen, Alle´gaten 55, NO-5007 Bergen, Norway 4Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2E3, Canada 5Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, PO Box 3930, Ulleva˚l Stadion, NO-0806 Oslo, Norway 6The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), PO Box 156, NO-9171 Longyearbyen, Norway 7Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, PO Box 1870 Nordnes, NO-5817 Bergen, Norway ABSTRACT. Results from electromagnetic induction surveys of sea-ice thickness in Storfjorden, Svalbard, reveal large interannual ice-thickness variations in a region which is typically characterized by a reoccurring polynya. The surveys were performed in March 2003, May 2006 and March 2007 with helicopter- and ship-based sensors. The thickness distributions are influenced by sea-ice and atmospheric boundary conditions 2months prior to the surveys, which are assessed with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images, regional QuikSCAT backscatter maps and wind information from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) reanalysis dataset. Locally formed thin ice from the Storfjorden polynya was frequently observed in 2003 and 2007 (mean thickness 0.55 and 0.37m, respectively) because these years were characterized by prevailing northeasterly winds. In contrast, the entire fjord was covered with thick external sea ice in 2006 (mean thickness 2.21m), when ice from the Barents Sea was driven into the fjord by predominantly southerly winds. The modal thickness of this external ice in 2006 increased from 1.2m in the northern fjord

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