Thin ice and storms: Sea ice deformation from buoy arrays deployed during N-ICE2015

Type Article
Date 2017-06
Language English
Author(s) Itkin Polona1, Spreen Gunnar1, 2, Cheng Bin3, Doble Martin4, Girard-Ardhuin FannyORCID5, Haapala Jari3, Hughes Nick6, Kaleschke Lars7, Nicolaus Marcel8, Wilkinson Jeremy9
Affiliation(s) 1 : Norwegian Polar Res Inst, Tromso, Norway.
2 : Univ Bremen, Inst Environm Phys, Bremen, Germany.
3 : Finnish Meteorol Inst, Helsinki, Finland.
4 : Polar Sci Ltd, Appin, Argyll, Scotland.
5 : IFREMER, Lab Oceanog Phys & Spatiale, Plouzane, France.
6 : Norwegian Meteorol Inst, Tromso, Norway.
7 : Univ Hamburg, Inst Oceanog, Hamburg, Germany.
8 : Helmholtz Zentrum Polar & Meeresforsch, Alfred Wegener Inst, Bremerhaven, Germany.
9 : British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, England.
Source Journal Of Geophysical Research-oceans (2169-9275) (Amer Geophysical Union), 2017-06 , Vol. 122 , N. 6 , P. 4661-4674
DOI 10.1002/2016JC012403
WOS© Times Cited 77

Arctic sea ice has displayed significant thinning as well as an increase in drift speed in recent years. Taken together this suggests an associated rise in sea ice deformation rate. A winter and spring expedition to the sea ice covered region north of Svalbard–the Norwegian young sea ICE2015 expedition (N-ICE2015)—gave an opportunity to deploy extensive buoy arrays and to monitor the deformation of the first-year and second-year ice now common in the majority of the Arctic Basin. During the 5 month long expedition, the ice cover underwent several strong deformation events, including a powerful storm in early February that damaged the ice cover irreversibly. The values of total deformation measured during N-ICE2015 exceed previously measured values in the Arctic Basin at similar scales: At 100 km scale, N-ICE2015 values averaged above 0.1 d−1, compared to rates of 0.08 d−1 or less for previous buoy arrays. The exponent of the power law between the deformation length scale and total deformation developed over the season from 0.37 to 0.54 with an abrupt increase immediately after the early February storm, indicating a weakened ice cover with more free drift of the sea ice floes. Our results point to a general increase in deformation associated with the younger and thinner Arctic sea ice and to a potentially destructive role of winter storms.

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Itkin Polona, Spreen Gunnar, Cheng Bin, Doble Martin, Girard-Ardhuin Fanny, Haapala Jari, Hughes Nick, Kaleschke Lars, Nicolaus Marcel, Wilkinson Jeremy (2017). Thin ice and storms: Sea ice deformation from buoy arrays deployed during N-ICE2015. Journal Of Geophysical Research-oceans, 122(6), 4661-4674. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :