Satellite-derived sea ice export and its impact on Arctic ice mass balance

Ricker, Robert; Girard-Ardhuin, Fanny; Krumpen, Thomas; Lique, Camille

Sea ice volume export through the Fram Strait represents an important freshwater input to the North Atlantic, which could in turn modulate the intensity of the thermohaline circulation. It also contributes significantly to variations in Arctic ice mass balance. We present the first estimates of winter sea ice volume export through the Fram Strait using CryoSat-2 sea ice thickness retrievals and three different ice drift products for the years 2010 to 2017. The monthly export varies between inline-formula−21 and inline-formula−540 kminline-formula3. We find that ice drift variability is the main driver of annual and interannual ice volume export variability and that the interannual variations in the ice drift are driven by large-scale variability in the atmospheric circulation captured by the Arctic Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation indices. On shorter timescale, however, the seasonal cycle is also driven by the mean thickness of exported sea ice, typically peaking in March. Considering Arctic winter multi-year ice volume changes, 54  % of their variability can be explained by the variations in ice volume export through the Fram Strait.

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Ricker, Robert / Girard-Ardhuin, Fanny / Krumpen, Thomas / et al: Satellite-derived sea ice export and its impact on Arctic ice mass balance. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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