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Yanling Yu
Harry Stern
Charles Fowler
Florence Fetterer
, and
James Maslanik


Analysis of weekly sea ice charts produced by the U.S. National Ice Center from 1976 to 2007 indicates large interannual variations in the averaged winter landfast ice extent around the Arctic Basin. During the 32-yr period of the record, landfast ice cover was relatively extensive from the early to mid-1980s but since then has declined in many coastal regions of the Arctic, particularly after the early 1990s. While the Barents, Baltic, and Bering Seas show increases in landfast ice area, the overall change for the Northern Hemisphere is negative, about −12.27 (±2.8) × 103 km2 yr−1, or −7 (±1.5)% decade−1 relative to the long-term mean. Except in a few coastal regions, the seasonal duration of landfast ice is shorter overall, particularly in the Laptev, East Siberian, and Chukchi Seas. The decreased winter landfast ice extent is associated with some notable changes in ice growth and melt patterns, in particular the slowed landfast ice expansion during fall and early winter since 1990. The observed changes in Arctic landfast ice could have profound impacts on the Arctic coasts. The challenge is to understand and project the responses of the whole coastal ecosystem to changing ice cover and Arctic warming.

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