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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2016-118
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2016-118
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 23 May 2016

Submitted as: research article | 23 May 2016

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). A final paper in TC is not foreseen.

Impact of refreezing melt ponds on Arctic sea ice basal growth

Daniela Flocco1, Daniel L. Feltham1, David Schroeder1, and Michel Tsamados2 Daniela Flocco et al.
  • 1Centre for Polar Observations and Modelling – Department of Meteorology, University of Reading
  • 2Centre for Polar Observations and Modelling – Department of Earth Sciences, University College London

Abstract. Melt ponds forming over the sea ice cover in the Arctic profoundly impact the surface albedo inducing a positive feedback leading to further melting. Here we examine the processes involved in melt pond refreezing and their impact on basal sea ice growth. When ponds freeze, the ice that forms on them insulates the pond trapping it between the sea ice and the ice lid. Trapped melt ponds delay basal sea ice growth in Autumn: ice thickens only after (1) the pond water has been fully frozen and (2) a temperature gradient is established that will conduct heat away from the ocean. Sea ice thickening in the areas where ponds are present is mainly due to the pond's water refreezing. Pan-Arctic simulations with a stand-alone sea ice model and studies with a high-resolution one-dimensional, three-layer refreezing model are used to study the impact on sea ice growth of trapped melt ponds. Basal sea ice growth may be inhibited by up to two months. We estimate an inhibited basal growth of up to 228 km3, which represents 25 % of the basal sea ice growth estimated by PIOMAS during the months of September and October. The brine not released due to the inhibited basal growth during this period could have implications for the ocean properties and circulation. The impact of trapped melt ponds has not been accounted for so far in any climate model.

Daniela Flocco et al.
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AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Interactive discussion
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
Daniela Flocco et al.
Daniela Flocco et al.
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Short summary
Melt ponds form over the sea ice cover in the Arctic and impact the surface albedo inducing a positive feedback leading to further melting. While they refreeze, ponds delay basal sea ice growth in Autumn impacting the internal sea ice temperature and therefore its basal growth rate. By using a numerical model we estimate an inhibited basal growth of up to 228 km3, which represents 25 % of the basal sea ice growth estimated by PIOMAS during the months of September and October.
Melt ponds form over the sea ice cover in the Arctic and impact the surface albedo inducing a...
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