The Cryosphere Discuss., 6, 3349-3367, 2012
www.the-cryosphere-discuss.net/6/3349/2012/
doi:10.5194/tcd-6-3349-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in TC.
Variability of sea ice deformation rates in the Arctic and their relationship with basin-scale wind forcing
A. Herman and O. Glowacki
Institute of Oceanography, University of Gdańsk, Pilsudskiego 46, 81–378 Gdynia, Poland

Abstract. In this paper, temporal variability of the moments of probability distribution functions (pdfs) of total sea ice deformation rates in the Arctic is analyzed in the context of the basin-scale wind forcing acting on the ice. The pdfs are estimated for 594 satellite-derived sea ice deformation maps from 11 winter seasons between 1996/1997 and 2007/2008, provided by the RADARSAT Geophysical Processor System. The moments of the pdfs, calculated for a range of spatial scales, have two dominating components of variability: a seasonal cycle, with deformation rates decreasing throughout winter towards a minimum in March; and a short-term, synoptic variability, strongly correlated with the area-averaged magnitude of the wind stress over the Arctic, estimated based on the NCEP-DOE Reanalysis-2 data (correlation coefficient of 0.71 for the mean deformation rate). Due to scaling properties of the moments, logarithms of higher moments are strongly correlated with the wind stress as well. By demonstrating that a very simple model can provide an explanation for the observed relationships, we show that they reflect the dominating balance of forces in the compact, quasi-stationary ice pack. Finally, we suggest that a positive trend in seasonally-averaged correlation between sea ice deformation rates and the wind forcing, present in the analyzed data, may be related to an observed decrease in the multi-year ice area in the Arctic, indicating possibly even stronger correlations in the future.

Citation: Herman, A. and Glowacki, O.: Variability of sea ice deformation rates in the Arctic and their relationship with basin-scale wind forcing, The Cryosphere Discuss., 6, 3349-3367, doi:10.5194/tcd-6-3349-2012, 2012.
 
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