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December 2022 Bulletin

Estimation of Thermodynamic and Dynamic Contributions to Sea Ice Growth in the Central Arctic using ICESat-2 and MOSAiC SIMBA Buoy Data

YoungHyun Koo, Ruibo Lei, Yubing Cheng, Bin Cheng, Hongjie Xie, Mario Hoppmann, Nathan T. Kurtz, Stephen F. Ackley, Alberto M. Mestas-Nuñez

 

Abstract

The fine spatial resolution of the ICESat-2 (IS2) satellite altimeter allows monitoring the evolution of sea ice thickness with detailed dynamic information (e.g. ridges and leads). In this study, we first assess the ability of IS2 to estimate thermodynamic ice growth and dynamic thickening during the ice-growing season in the central Arctic Ocean. As an indicator of the thermodynamic ice growth, we use 10 thermistor string-based sea ice mass balance array (SIMBA) buoys deployed at a scale of ~50 km from the Icebreaker Polarstern during the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition. We collect IS2 data within 20 km buffer distance from the individual buoys, and calculate the mode, median, and mean of the IS2-derived ice thickness. The IS2 modal thickness shows the least bias (−0.169 m) with the buoy ice thickness, representing level ice thickness. In addition, the increasing rate of the IS2 modal thickness is close to the thermodynamic ice growth with a small bias of −0.054 cm/day. However, the increasing rates of the IS2 median and mean thickness are greater than the thermodynamic ice growth by about 0.114 cm/day and 0.198 cm/day, respectively, because they also include ice growth caused by thickness redistribution during dynamic deformation. South Texas Geological Society December 2022 12 Bulletin of the South Texas Geological Society The dynamic contributions may account for 26.1 ± 10.3% and 34.4 ± 10.1% of the total increase of the IS2 median and mean thickness, respectively. Within a ~ 50 km radius area from the MOSAiC Central Observatory, IS2 measurements exhibit that the ridge fraction increased from <2% in November to ~4% in March (~0.029%/day of average increasing rate) and ridge height increased about 0.047 cm/ day during the same period. However, lead formation does not show significant contributions to the dynamic ice thickening because leads are temporary features lasting only 2–3 days. Although there are considerable uncertainties in IS2 ice thickness estimation and IS2-buoy thickness comparison, this study emphasizes the importance of combining measurements by IS2 and SIMBA buoys to explain the regional sea ice mass balance with separating the thermodynamic and dynamic contributions. 

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