An Antarctic monitoring initiative for fast ice and comparison with the Arctic P. Heil1, S. Gerland2, and M. A. Granskog2 1Australian Antarctic Division & ACE CRC, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 80, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia 2Norwegian Polar Institute, Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
Abstract. While Arctic and Antarctic fast-ice observations are required by a number of
interest groups for planning and logistical activities, or to support
scientific research, obtaining those data is not trivial. Sea-ice extent is
reasonably well observed using camera-based or satellite-borne instruments,
however, in situ and satellite-based ice-thicknesss measurements remain a
challenge. As the seasonal fast-ice thickness is directly linked to regional
atmospheric and oceanographic conditions, monitoring of fast-ice thickness
across a station network around Antarctica and in the Arctic is crucial to
assess how climate change affects the polar system. The Antarctic Fast-Ice
Network (AFIN) was recently established to provide the scientific community
with fast-ice observations from sites operated by international contributors.
Based on AFIN data a recent increase in interannual variability in annual
maximum ice and snow thicknesses has been identified. Maximum Arctic fast-ice
thickness generally exhibits a similar interannual variability, however, both
positive and negative trends in ice thickness have been observed in the
Arctic. Comparing the two hemispheres, we find that in the Arctic the fast
ice establishes itself at a faster rate than in the Antarctic, where repeated
cyclone action tends to intermittently remove the fast ice during autumn.
Also, Arctic sites investigated here exhibit less snow cover than those from
East Antarctic coastal sites.
Citation: Heil, P., Gerland, S., and Granskog, M. A.: An Antarctic monitoring initiative for fast ice and comparison with the Arctic, The Cryosphere Discuss., 5, 2437-2463, doi:10.5194/tcd-5-2437-2011, 2011.