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Sea ice is a crucial part of the freshwater balance of the Arctic Ocean. It’s relatively easy to use satellites to figure out where it is; it’s much harder to determine how thick it is. The figure above illustrates an exciting new effort to do this, using a radar on a European satellite, ERS-2. You can see that there’s no data north of about 82°N: too bad for the Switchyard! But that’s ok: a new satellite, Cryosat, will measure as far north as 88°N starting later in 2005.

We are also investigating sea ice drift patterns (see Data & Graphics page) to determine where sea ice is moving in the Switchyard region.

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Polar Science Center
Applied Physics Laboratory
1013 NE 40th Street
Seattle, WA 98105
206-543-1300

University of Washington


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0230427.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the
National Science Foundation.

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