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Environmental Phenomena of the Beaufort Sea Observed during the Leads Experiment

Robert W. Fett
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Stephen D. Burk
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William T. Thompson
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Thomas L. Kozo
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This paper describes unique environmental phenomena observed during LEADEX (Leads Experiment), a multidisciplinary investigation staged from an ice camp in the Beaufort Sea during March and April 1992. The paper focuses on phenomena observed by NOAA, DMSP, and the European ERS-1 satellites. The opening and closing of a lead is studied using the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data aboardERS-1. With a mesoscale model, the authors examine the three-dimensional nature of meteorological phenomena and their effect on the opening and closing of leads and show that this model is extremely useful for interpreting structures evident in satellite and in situ observations along northern Alaska. Storms or wind events, which result in leads and fractured ice, also cause ice floes to rotate; the authors document this rotation with automated weather stations anchored to the floes. Finally, the authors describe unique thermal streaks that appeared over a large area of the Beaufort Sea during strong northeasterly winds and explore their nature using multichannel satellite data.

*Science Applications International Corporation, Watersmeet, Michigan.

+Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California.

Corresponding author address:Dt. Stephen Burk, Marine Meteorology Division, Naval Research Laboratory, 7 Grace Hopper Ave., Monterey, CA 93943-5502. E-mail: burk@nrlmry.navy.mil

This paper describes unique environmental phenomena observed during LEADEX (Leads Experiment), a multidisciplinary investigation staged from an ice camp in the Beaufort Sea during March and April 1992. The paper focuses on phenomena observed by NOAA, DMSP, and the European ERS-1 satellites. The opening and closing of a lead is studied using the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data aboardERS-1. With a mesoscale model, the authors examine the three-dimensional nature of meteorological phenomena and their effect on the opening and closing of leads and show that this model is extremely useful for interpreting structures evident in satellite and in situ observations along northern Alaska. Storms or wind events, which result in leads and fractured ice, also cause ice floes to rotate; the authors document this rotation with automated weather stations anchored to the floes. Finally, the authors describe unique thermal streaks that appeared over a large area of the Beaufort Sea during strong northeasterly winds and explore their nature using multichannel satellite data.

*Science Applications International Corporation, Watersmeet, Michigan.

+Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California.

Corresponding author address:Dt. Stephen Burk, Marine Meteorology Division, Naval Research Laboratory, 7 Grace Hopper Ave., Monterey, CA 93943-5502. E-mail: burk@nrlmry.navy.mil
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