Abstract. An understanding of spatial gradients in sea ice motion, or deformation, is essential to understanding of ocean-sea-ice-atmosphere interactions and realistic representations of sea ice in models used for the purposes of prediction. This is particularly true for the southern Beaufort Sea, where significant offshore hydrocarbon resource development increases the risk of oil and other contaminants dispersing into the marginal ice zone. In this study, sea ice deformation is examined through evaluation of ice beacon triplets from September to November 2009 in the southern Beaufort Sea (SBS), defined according to distance from the coastline on deployment. Results from this analysis illustrate that ice beacon triplets in the SBS demonstrate spatiotemporal differences in their evolution at the periphery and interior of the ice pack. The time rate of change in triplet area highlights two intervals of enhanced divergence and convergence in fall, 2009. Investigation of sea ice and atmospheric conditions during these intervals shows that until mid-September, all triplets respond to northerly flow, while during the second interval of enhanced divergence/convergence in October only one triplet responds to persistent northeasterly flow due to its proximity to the ice edge, in contrast to triplets located at the interior of the pack. Differences in sea ice deformation and dispersion near the pack ice edge and interior are further demonstrated in the behavior of triplets B and C in late October/early November. The results from this analysis highlight differences in dispersion and deformation characteristics based on triplet proximity to the southernmost ice edge and coastline, with implications for modeling studies pertaining to sea ice dynamics and dispersion.
How to cite. Lukovich, J. V., Babb, D. G., Galley, R. J., Raddatz, R. L., and Barber, D. G.: On the characteristics of sea ice divergence/convergence in the Southern Beaufort Sea, The Cryosphere Discuss., 8, 4281–4325, https://doi.org/10.5194/tcd-8-4281-2014, 2014.