Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-368
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-368

  14 Dec 2021

14 Dec 2021

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

Characterizing the Sea-Ice Floe Size Distribution in the Canada Basin from High-Resolution Optical Satellite Imagery

Alexis Anne Denton and Mary-Louise Timmermans Alexis Anne Denton and Mary-Louise Timmermans
  • Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Yale University, New Haven, 06511, USA

Abstract. The sea-ice floe size distribution (FSD) characterizes the sea-ice response to atmosphere and ocean forcing and is important for understanding and modeling the evolving ice pack in a warming Arctic. FSDs are evaluated from 78 floe- segmented high-resolution (1-m) optical satellite images capturing a range of settings and sea-ice states during spring through fall from 1999 to 2014 in the Canada Basin. For any given image, the structure of the FSD is found to be sensitive to a classification threshold value (i.e., to specify an image pixel as being either water or ice) used in image segmentation, and an objective approach to minimize this sensitivity is presented. The FSDs are found to exhibit a single power-law regime between floe areas 50 m2 and 5 km2, characterized by exponents (slopes in log-log space) in the range −2.03 to −1.65. A distinct linear relationship between slopes and sea-ice concentrations is found, with steeper slopes (i.e., a larger proportion of smaller to larger floes) corresponding to lower sea-ice concentrations. Further, a seasonal variation in slopes is found for fixed sites in the Canada Basin that undergo a seasonal cycle in sea-ice concentration, while sites with extensive sea-ice cover year-round do not exhibit any seasonal change in FSD properties. Our results suggest that sea-ice concentration should be considered in any characterization of a time-varying FSD (for use in sea-ice models, for example).

Alexis Anne Denton and Mary-Louise Timmermans

Status: open (until 08 Feb 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Alexis Anne Denton and Mary-Louise Timmermans

Alexis Anne Denton and Mary-Louise Timmermans

Viewed

Total article views: 342 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
273 64 5 342 2 4
  • HTML: 273
  • PDF: 64
  • XML: 5
  • Total: 342
  • BibTeX: 2
  • EndNote: 4
Views and downloads (calculated since 14 Dec 2021)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 14 Dec 2021)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 326 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 326 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
1
 
 
 
 
Latest update: 16 Jan 2022
Download
Short summary
Arctic sea ice has a distribution of ice sizes which provides insight into the physics of the ice. We examine this distribution from satellite imagery from 1999 to 2014 in the Canada Basin. We find that it appears as a power-law whose power decreases with increasing ice concentrations, and has a seasonality tied to that of ice concentration. These results suggest ice concentration be considered in models of this distribution and are important for understanding sea ice in a warming Arctic.