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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 7, issue 4
The Cryosphere, 7, 1057–1072, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-7-1057-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
The Cryosphere, 7, 1057–1072, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-7-1057-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 09 Jul 2013

Research article | 09 Jul 2013

Summer sea ice characteristics and morphology in the Pacific Arctic sector as observed during the CHINARE 2010 cruise

H. Xie1, R. Lei2, C. Ke3, H. Wang4, Z. Li5, J. Zhao6, and S. F. Ackley1 H. Xie et al.
  • 1Laboratory for Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics, University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas 78249, USA
  • 2Key Laboratory for Polar Science of the State Oceanic Administration, Polar Research Institute of China, Shanghai, 200136, China
  • 3School of Geographic & Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210093, China
  • 4Department of Earth Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310027, China
  • 5State Key Laboratory of Coastal and Offshore Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, 116024, China
  • 6College of Physical and Environmental Oceanography, Ocean University of China, Qindao, 266100, China

Abstract. In the summer of 2010, atmosphere–ice–ocean interaction was studied aboard the icebreaker R/V Xuelong during the Chinese National Arctic Research Expedition (CHINARE), in the sea ice zone of the Pacific Arctic sector between 150° W and 180° W up to 88.5° N. The expedition lasted from 21 July to 28 August and comprised of ice observations and measurements along the cruise track, 8 short-term stations and one 12-day drift station. Ship-based observations of ice thickness and concentration are compared with ice thickness measured by an electromagnetic induction device (EM31) mounted off the ship's side and ice concentrations obtained from AMSR-E. It is found that the modal thickness from ship-based visual observations matches well with the modal thickness from the mounted EM31. A grid of 8 profiles of ice thickness measurements (four repeats) was conducted at the 12-day drift station in the central Arctic (~ 86°50´ N–87°20´ N) and an average melt rate of 2 cm day−1, primarily bottom melt, was found. As compared with the 2005 data from the Healy/Oden Trans-Arctic Expedition (HOTRAX) for the same sector but ~ 20 days later (9 August to 10 September), the summer 2010 was first-year ice dominant (vs. the multi-year ice dominant in 2005), 70% or less in mean ice concentration (vs. 90% in 2005), and 94–114 cm in mean ice thickness (vs. 150 cm in 2005). Those changes suggest the continuation of ice thinning, less concentration, and younger ice for the summer sea ice in the sector since 2007 when a record minimum sea ice extent was observed. Overall, the measurements provide a valuable dataset of sea ice morphological properties over the Arctic Pacific Sector in summer 2010 and can be used as a benchmark for measurements of future changes.

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