Characterizing sudden changes in Arctic sea ice drift and deformation on synoptic timescales

Other literature type English OPEN
Lukovich, Jennifer V. ; Geiger, Cathleen A. ; Barber, David G. (2016)

In this study, we develop a framework for the assessment of sudden changes in sea ice drift and associated deformation processes in response to atmospheric forcing and ice–coastal interactions, based on analysis of ice buoy triplet centroids and areas. Examined in particular is the spatiotemporal evolution in sea ice floes that are tracked with GPS beacons deployed in triplets in the southern Beaufort Sea at varying distances from the coastline in fall, 2009 – triplets A to D, with A (D) located closest to (furthest from) the coastline. This study illustrates the use of shock-response diagnostics to evaluate eight identified sudden changes or shock events on daily timescales. Results from this analysis show that shock events in the southern Beaufort Sea occur in at least one of two forms: (1) during a reversal in winds, or (2) sustained north/easterly winds, with response mechanisms governed by ice conditions and interactions with the coastline. Demonstrated also is the emergence of a shear-shock event (SSE) that results in reduced ice concentrations for triplets B, C, and D, one, three and five days following the SSE, respectively and loss of synchronicity in ice-atmosphere interactions. The tools developed in this study provide a unique characterization of sea ice dynamical processes in the southern Beaufort Sea, with implications for quantifying "shock-response" systems relevant for ice hazard assessments and forecasting applications required by oil and gas, marine transportation, and indigenous use of near shore Arctic areas.
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