Variability and trends in Laptev Sea ice outflow between 1992-2011

Type Article
Date 2013
Language English
Author(s) Krumpen T.1, Janout M.1, Hodges K. I.2, Gerdes R.1, Ardhuin FannyORCID3, Hoelemann J. A.1, Willmes S.4
Affiliation(s) 1 : Alfred Wegener Inst Polar & Marine Res, D-27570 Bremerhaven, Germany.
2 : Natl Ctr Earth Observat, Reading RG6 6AL, Berks, England.
3 : IFREMER, Spatial Oceanog Lab, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
4 : Univ Trier, Dept Environm Meteorol, D-54286 Trier, Germany.
Source Cryosphere (1994-0416) (Copernicus Gesellschaft Mbh), 2013 , Vol. 7 , N. 1 , P. 349-363
DOI 10.5194/tc-7-349-2013
WOS© Times Cited 38
Abstract Variability and trends in seasonal and interannual ice area export out of the Laptev Sea between 1992 and 2011 are investigated using satellite-based sea ice drift and concentration data. We found an average total winter (October to May) ice area transport across the northern and eastern Laptev Sea boundaries (NB and EB) of 3.48x10(5) km(2). The average transport across the NB (2.87x10(5) km(2)) is thereby higher than across the EB (0.61x10(5) km(2)), with a less pronounced seasonal cycle. The total Laptev Sea ice area flux significantly increased over the last decades (0.85x10(5) km(2) decade(-1), p > 0.95), dominated by increasing export through the EB (0.55x10(5) km(2) decade(-1), p > 0.90), while the increase in export across the NB is smaller (0.3x10(5) km(2) decade(-1)) and statistically not significant. The strong coupling between across-boundary SLP gradient and ice drift velocity indicates that monthly variations in ice area flux are primarily controlled by changes in geostrophic wind velocities, although the Laptev Sea ice circulation shows no clear relationship with large-scale atmospheric indices. Also there is no evidence of increasing wind velocities that could explain the overall positive trends in ice export. The increased transport rates are rather the consequence of a changing ice cover such as thinning and/or a decrease in concentration. The use of a back-propagation method revealed that most of the ice that is incorporated into the Transpolar Drift is formed during freeze-up and originates from the central and western part of the Laptev Sea, while the exchange with the East Siberian Sea is dominated by ice coming from the central and southeastern Laptev Sea. Furthermore, our results imply that years of high ice export in late winter (February to May) have a thinning effect on the ice cover, which in turn preconditions the occurence of negative sea ice extent anomalies in summer.
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