Evidence for an increasing role of ocean heat in Arctic winter sea ice growth

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  • 1 Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2 Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 3 Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  • 4 Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 5 Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  • 6 Department of Geography, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Munich, Germany, Germany
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Abstract

We investigate how sea ice decline in summer and warmer ocean and surface temperatures in winter affect sea ice growth in the Arctic. Sea ice volume changes are estimated from satellite observations during winter from 2002 to 2019 and partitioned into thermodynamic growth and dynamic volume change. Both components are compared to validated sea ice-ocean models forced by reanalysis data to extend observations back to 1980 and to understand the mechanisms that cause the observed trends and variability. We find that a negative feedback driven by the increasing sea ice retreat in summer yields increasing thermodynamic ice growth during winter in the Arctic marginal seas eastward from the Laptev Sea to the Beaufort Sea. However, in the Barents and Kara Seas, this feedback seems to be overpowered by the impact of increasing oceanic heat flux and air temperatures, resulting in negative trends in thermodynamic ice growth of -2 km3month-1yr-1 on average over 2002-2019 derived from satellite observations.

Corresponding author: Robert Ricker, Robert.Ricker@awi.de

Abstract

We investigate how sea ice decline in summer and warmer ocean and surface temperatures in winter affect sea ice growth in the Arctic. Sea ice volume changes are estimated from satellite observations during winter from 2002 to 2019 and partitioned into thermodynamic growth and dynamic volume change. Both components are compared to validated sea ice-ocean models forced by reanalysis data to extend observations back to 1980 and to understand the mechanisms that cause the observed trends and variability. We find that a negative feedback driven by the increasing sea ice retreat in summer yields increasing thermodynamic ice growth during winter in the Arctic marginal seas eastward from the Laptev Sea to the Beaufort Sea. However, in the Barents and Kara Seas, this feedback seems to be overpowered by the impact of increasing oceanic heat flux and air temperatures, resulting in negative trends in thermodynamic ice growth of -2 km3month-1yr-1 on average over 2002-2019 derived from satellite observations.

Corresponding author: Robert Ricker, Robert.Ricker@awi.de
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