Sea Ice

Air-Ice-Ocean InteractionNumerical ModelingThickness measurementsRemote SensingOptical PropertiesSea Ice-Biology

Sea ice research has long been the emphasis of research at the Polar Science Center. Since the Center’s inception following the Arctic Ice Dynamics Joint Experiment (AIDJEX), the topic of sea ice has evolved from basic fundamental research to a highlighted role in climate change. From the details of how bubbles in sea ice influence the transmission of light through ice, to the construction of global models, which help us to understand past and future variability, PSC researchers are engaged in a number of sea ice research projects.

In The News

Selected Projects

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    A New Unified Sea Ice Thickness Climate Data Record

    This new data set is a concerted effort to collect as many observations of sea ice thickness as possible in one place with consistent formats and with clear and abundant documentation. It will allow the community to better utilize what is now a considerable body of observations from moorings, submarines, aircraft, and satellites.

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    Arctic Sea Ice Volume Anomaly

    The Arctic Sea Ice Volume Anomaly time series is calculated using the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS) developed at APL/PSC.  Updates will be generated at approximately monthly intervals.

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    Seasonal Ensemble Forecasts of Arctic Sea Ice

    Project investigators aim to improve upon the existing seasonal ensemble forecasting system and use the system to predict sea ice conditions in the arctic and subarctic seas with lead times ranging from two weeks to three seasons.

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    Impacts of Arctic Storms on Landfast Ice Variations

    This project is to examine over 30 years of landfast ice records, cyclone tracks and intensity along with frequency and timing of coastal high wind conditions, nearshore pack ice drift, and coastal weather observations in two representative arctic coastal regions.

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    Changing Sea Ice and the Bering Sea Ecosystem

    The Bering Sea – lying at the northern end of the Pacific Ocean and north of the Aleutian Chain – is the source of over 50% of the total US fish catch and the home to immense populations of birds and marine mammals. This project uses a state-of-the-art numerical ocean-ice model to investigate prior (and predict future) changes in the Bering Sea ice cover and study the impacts of these changes on Bering Sea marine and eco-systems.

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    Projections of an Ice-Diminished Arctic Ocean – Retrospection and Future Projection

    Significant changes in arctic climate have been detected in recent years. One of the most striking changes is the decline of sea ice concurrent with changes in atmospheric circulation and increased surface air temperature.

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Selected Publications

  • Schweiger, A., R. Lindsay, J. Zhang, M. Steele, H. Stern, Uncertainty in modeled arctic sea ice volume, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2011JC007084, 2011, manuscript.pdf.

  • Lindsay, R. W., 2010: A new sea ice thickness climate data record, Eos, 44, 405–406.

  • Perovich, D.K., T.C. Grenfell, B. Light, et al.,’ Transpolar observations of the morphological properties of Arctic sea ice’, J. Geophys. Res., 114, 10.1029/2008JC004892, 2009.

  • Kwok, R., G.F. Cunningham, M. Wensnahan, I. Rigor, H.J. Zwally, and D. Yi,’ Thinning and volume loss of the Arctic Ocean sea ice cover: 2003-2008′, J. Geophys. Res., 114, doi:10.1029/2009JC005312, 2009.

  • Rampal, P., J. Weiss, D. Marsan, R. Lindsay, and H. Stern, 2008, Scaling properties of sea ice deformation from buoy dispersion analysis, J. Geophys. Res., 113, C03002, doi:10.1029/2007JC004143.

  • Lindsay, R.W., J. Zhang, A. Schweiger and M.A. Steele, “Seasonal predictions of ice extent in the Arctic Ocean”, J. Geophys. Res., 113(C2), 2008.