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Antony K. Liu, Seelye Martin, and Ronald Kwok

Abstract

This paper demonstrates the use of wavelet transforms in the tracking of sequential ice features in the ERS-1 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery, especially in situations where feature correlation techniques fail to yield reasonable results. Examples include the evolution of the St. Lawrence polynya and summer sea ice change in the Beaufort Sea. For the polynya, the evolution of the region of young ice growth surrounding a polynya can be easily tracked by wavelet analysis due to the large backscatter difference between the young and old ice. Also within the polynya, a 2D fast Fourier transform (FFT) is used to identify the extent of the Langmuir circulation region, which is coincident with the wave-agitated frazil ice growth region, where the sea ice experiences its fastest growth. Therefore, the combination of wavelet and FFT analysis of SAR images provides for the large-scale monitoring of different polynya features. For summer ice, previous work shows that this is the most difficult period for ice trackers due to the lack of features on the sea ice cover. The multiscale wavelet analysis shows that this method delineates the detailed floe shapes during this period, so that between consecutive images, the floe translation and rotation can be estimated.

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An T. Nguyen, Ronald Kwok, and Dimitris Menemenlis

Abstract

A coupled ocean and sea ice model is used to investigate dense water (DW) formation in the Chukchi and Bering shelves and the pathways by which this water feeds the upper halocline. Two 1992–2008 data-constrained solutions at 9- and 4-km horizontal grid spacing show that 1) winter sea ice growth results in brine rejection and DW formation; 2) the DW flows primarily down Barrow and Central–Herald Canyons in the form of bottom-trapped, intermittent currents to depths of 50–150 m from the late winter to late summer seasons; and 3) eddies with diameters ~ 30 km carry the cold DW from the shelf break into the Canada Basin interior at depths of 50–150 m. The 4-km data-constrained solution does not show eddy transport across the Chukchi Shelf at shallow depths; instead, advection of DW downstream of polynya regions is driven by a strong (~0.1 m s−1) mean current on the Chukchi Shelf. Upper halocline water (UHW) formation rate was obtained from two methods: one is based on satellite data and on a simple parameterized approach, and the other is computed from the authors’ model solution. The two methods yield 5740 ±1420 km3 yr−1 and 4190–4860 ±1440 km3 yr−1, respectively. These rates imply a halocline replenishment period of 10–21 yr. Passive tracers also show that water with highest density forms in the Gulf of Anadyr and along the eastern Siberian coast immediately north of the Bering Strait. These results provide a coherent picture of the seasonal development of UHW at high spatial and temporal resolutions and serve as a guide for improving understanding of water-mass formation in the western Arctic Ocean.

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Lee-Lueng Fu, Tong Lee, W. Timothy Liu, and Ronald Kwok

Abstract

The development of the technologies of remote sensing of the ocean was initiated in the 1970s, while the ideas of observing the ocean from space were conceived in the late 1960s. The first global view from space revealed the expanse and complexity of the state of the ocean that had perplexed and inspired oceanographers ever since. This paper presents a glimpse of the vast progress made from ocean remote sensing in the past 50 years that has a profound impact on the ways we study the ocean in relation to weather and climate. The new view from space in conjunction with the deployment of an unprecedented amount of in situ observations of the ocean has led to a revolution in physical oceanography. The highlights of the achievement include the description and understanding of the global ocean circulation, the air–sea fluxes driving the coupled ocean–atmosphere system that is most prominently illustrated in the tropical oceans. The polar oceans are most sensitive to climate change with significant consequences, but owing to remoteness they were not accessible until the space age. Fundamental discoveries have been made on the evolution of the state of sea ice as well as the circulation of the ice-covered ocean. Many surprises emerged from the extraordinary accuracy and expanse of the space observations. Notable examples include the determination of the global mean sea level rise as well as the role of the deep ocean in tidal mixing and dissipation.

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Igor V. Polyakov, John E. Walsh, and Ronald Kwok

No abstract available.

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