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Patterns of wintertime Arctic sea-ice leads and their relation to winds and ocean currents

  • We use a novel sea-ice lead climatology for the winters of 2002/03 to 2020/21 based on satellite observations with 1 km2 spatial resolution to identify predominant patterns in Arctic wintertime sea-ice leads. The causes for the observed spatial and temporal variabilities are investigated using ocean surface current velocities and eddy kinetic energies from an ocean model (Finite Element Sea Ice–Ice-Shelf–Ocean Model, FESOM) and winds from a regional climate model (CCLM) and ERA5 reanalysis, respectively. The presented investigation provides evidence for an influence of ocean bathymetry and associated currents on the mechanic weakening of sea ice and the accompanying occurrence of sea-ice leads with their characteristic spatial patterns. While the driving mechanisms for this observation are not yet understood in detail, the presented results can contribute to opening new hypotheses on ocean–sea-ice interactions. The individual contribution of ocean and atmosphere to regional lead dynamics is complex, and a deeper insight requires detailed mechanistic investigations in combination with considerations of coastal geometries. While the ocean influence on lead dynamics seems to act on a rather long-term scale (seasonal to interannual), the influence of wind appears to trigger sea-ice lead dynamics on shorter timescales of weeks to months and is largely controlled by individual events causing increased divergence. No significant pan-Arctic trends in wintertime leads can be observed.

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Author:Sascha Willmes, Günther Heinemann, Frank Schnaase
Parent Title (English):The Cryosphere
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
Place of publication:Göttingen
Document Type:Article
Date of completion:2023/08/17
Date of publication:2023/08/17
Publishing institution:Universität Trier
Contributing corporation:The publication was funded by the Open Access Fund of Universität Trier and the German Research Foundation (DFG)
Release Date:2023/12/12
GND Keyword:Arktis; Bruch; Klima; Meereis; Meeresströmung; Satellitenfernerkundung; Wind
Volume (for the year ...):2023
Issue / no.:Band 17, Heft 8
Number of pages:18
Institutes:Fachbereich 6 / Raum- und Umweltwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 551 Geologie, Hydrologie, Meteorologie
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY: Creative-Commons-Lizenz 4.0 International

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