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https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-215
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-215
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  17 Aug 2020

17 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Long-term variation of sea ice and its response to thermodynamic factors in the Northwest Passage of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

Xinyi Shen1,2,3, Yu Zhang1,2,3, Changsheng Chen4,1,2,3, and Song Hu1,2,3 Xinyi Shen et al.
  • 1College of Marine Sciences, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai, 201306, China
  • 2International Center for Marine Studies, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai, 201306, China
  • 3Centerfor Polar Research, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai, 201306, China
  • 4School for Marine Science and Technology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, New Bedford, Massachusetts, 02744, USA

Abstract. Sea ice conditions in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) play a key role in the navigation of the Northwest Passage (NWP). Based on the observed and simulated sea ice concentration and thickness data, we studied the temporal and spatial characteristics of sea ice from 1979 to 2017 in the NWP of the CAA and evaluated the sea ice conditions along the southern and northern routes of the NWP. Against the background of the rapid retreat of Arctic sea ice, the 39-year observed sea ice concentration of the NWP exhibited a relatively large decreasing trend in summer and fall, while heavy sea ice conditions were maintained in winter and spring, with a slight increasing trend. Consistent with Arctic sea ice, the sea ice extent in the NWP displayed a decreasing trend of −2.34 %/10 a, with its minimum occurring in 2012. The sea ice thickness in most subregions of the NWP showed a decreasing trend, with the exception of Lancaster Sound. The decreasing trend of sea ice thickness in the NWP was estimated to −0.16 m/10 a. Based on the sea ice concentration and thickness, however, the sea ice conditions were heavier along the northern route than the southern route. This study considered both of these routes, and we selected and evaluated more specific pathways. The correlation results between the sea ice and atmospheric and oceanic thermodynamic factors in the NWP suggested that the thermodynamic factors had a greater impact on sea ice in the summer and fall, and the variations of sea ice concentration were more closely correlated with the thermodynamic factors than sea ice thickness. The sea surface temperature (SST) had a higher correlation with sea ice concentration than surface air temperature (SAT), while SAT exhibited a higher correlation with sea ice thickness than SST. The residual amount of sea ice concentration and thickness in the fall, associated with the fall SAT and SST, contributed to the formation of sea ice in the following winter and spring.

Xinyi Shen et al.

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Short summary
Sea ice conditions in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) play a key role in the navigation of the Northwest Passage (NWP). Based on the observed and simulated sea ice concentration and thickness data, we studied the temporal and spatial characteristics of sea ice from 1979 to 2017 in the NWP of the CAA and evaluated the sea ice conditions along the southern and northern routes of the NWP.
Sea ice conditions in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) play a key role in the navigation of...
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