Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-297
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-297

  22 Sep 2021

22 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Fate of sea ice in the 'New Arctic': A database of daily Lagrangian Arctic sea ice parcel drift tracks with coincident ice and atmospheric conditions

Sean Horvath1,2, Linette Boisvert1, Chelsea Parker1,2, Melinda Webster3, Patrick Taylor4, and Robyn Boeke5 Sean Horvath et al.
  • 1NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt Rd., Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
  • 2Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, 5825 University Research Court Suite 4001, College Park, MD 20740, USA
  • 3University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute, 2156 Koyukuk Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
  • 4NASA Langley Research Center, Climate Science Branch, Hampton, VA 23681, USA
  • 5Science Systems Applications Inc., Hampton, VA 23666, USA

Abstract. Since the early 2000s, sea ice has experienced an increased rate of decline in thickness and extent and transitioned to a seasonal ice cover. This shift to thinner, seasonal ice in the 'New Arctic' is accompanied by a reshuffling of energy flows at the surface. Understanding the magnitude and nature of this reshuffling and the feedbacks therein remains limited. A novel database is presented that combines satellite observations, model output, and reanalysis data with daily sea ice parcel drift tracks produced in a Lagrangian framework. This dataset consists of daily time series of sea ice parcel locations, sea ice and snow conditions, and atmospheric states. Building on previous work, this dataset includes remotely sensed radiative and turbulent fluxes from which the surface energy budget can be calculated. Additionally, flags indicate when sea ice parcels travel within cyclones, recording distance and direction from the cyclone center. The database drift track was evaluated by comparison with sea ice mass balance buoys. Results show ice parcels generally remain within 100km of the corresponding buoy, with a mean distance of 82.6 km and median distance of 54 km. The sea ice mass balance buoys also provide recordings of sea ice thickness, snow depth, and air temperature and pressure which were compared to this database. Ice thickness and snow depth typically are less accurate than air temperature and pressure due to the high spatial variability of the former two quantities when compared to a point measurement. The correlations between the ice parcel and buoy data are high, which highlights the accuracy of this Lagrangian database in capturing the seasonal changes and evolution of sea ice. This database has multiple applications for the scientific community; it can be used to study the processes that influence individual sea ice parcel time series, or to explore generalized summary statistics and trends across the Arctic. Applications such as these may shed light on the atmosphere-snow-sea ice interactions in the changing Arctic environment.

Sean Horvath et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • AC1: 'Comment on tc-2021-297, additional acknowledgements', Sean Horvath, 01 Oct 2021
  • RC1: 'Review of "Fate of sea ice in the ‘New Arctic’: A database of daily Lagrangian Arctic sea ice parcel drift tracks with coincident ice and atmospheric conditions"', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Oct 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2021-297', Anonymous Referee #2, 30 Oct 2021

Sean Horvath et al.

Sean Horvath et al.

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Short summary
Arctic sea ice has been experiencing a dramatic decline since the late 1970s. A database is presented that combines satellite observations with daily sea ice parcel drift tracks. This dataset consists of daily time series of sea ice parcel locations, sea ice and snow conditions, and atmospheric states. This has multiple applications for the scientific community that can shed light on the atmosphere-snow-sea ice interactions in the changing Arctic environment.