Articles | Volume 9, issue 4
Research article
12 Aug 2015
Research article |  | 12 Aug 2015

Melt pond fraction and spectral sea ice albedo retrieval from MERIS data – Part 2: Case studies and trends of sea ice albedo and melt ponds in the Arctic for years 2002–2011

L. Istomina, G. Heygster, M. Huntemann, H. Marks, C. Melsheimer, E. Zege, A. Malinka, A. Prikhach, and I. Katsev

Abstract. The spatial and temporal dynamics of melt ponds and sea ice albedo contain information on the current state and the trend of the climate of the Arctic region. This publication presents a study on melt pond fraction (MPF) and sea ice albedo spatial and temporal dynamics obtained with the Melt Pond Detection (MPD) retrieval scheme for the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) satellite data. This study compares sea ice albedo and MPF to surface air temperature reanalysis data, compares MPF retrieved from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), and examines albedo and MPF trends. Weekly averages of MPF for 2007 and 2011 showed different MPF dynamics while summer sea ice minimum was similar for both years. The gridded MPF and albedo products compare well to independent reanalysis temperature data and show melt onset when the temperature gets above zero; however MPD shows an offset at low MPFs of about 10 % most probably due to unscreened high clouds. Weekly averaged trends show pronounced dynamics of both, MPF and albedo: a negative MPF trend in the East Siberian Sea and a positive MPF trend around the Queen Elizabeth Islands. The negative MPF trend appears due to a change of the absolute MPF value in its peak, whereas the positive MPF trend is created by the earlier melt onset, with the peak MPF values unchanged. The MPF dynamics in the East Siberian Sea could indicate a temporal change of ice type prevailing in the region, as opposed to the Queen Elizabeth Islands, where MPF dynamics react to an earlier seasonal onset of melt.