Long-term Variation

The characteristics that mark the interannual variability of landfast ice since the mid-1970s are a long-term decline of the ice coverage with a superimposed, roughly 7 to 9-year cyclic pattern, delayed fast ice development in fall/early winter and early melt in spring, and a gradual thinning of the fast ice cover. These changes are most distinct since 2000. It is noted that the decrease in fast ice coverage corresponds well with the warming of coastal air temperatures. Warming events are enhanced by storm activity as well as interactions with the warm sea surface due to an increase in coastal open water. The latter condition favors wave activity and may further impact ice development during fall freeze-up.

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