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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 22 Jan 2019

Research article | 22 Jan 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript was accepted for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Contributions of advection and melting processes to the decline in sea ice in the Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean

Haibo Bi1,2,3,4, Qinghua Yang5, Xi Liang6, and Haijun Huang1,2,3,4 Haibo Bi et al.
  • 1Key laboratory of Marine Geology and Environment, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, China
  • 2Laboratory for Marine Geology, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao, China
  • 3Center for Ocean Mega-Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, China
  • 4University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 5School of Atmosphere Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai, China
  • 6Key Laboratory of Research on Marine Hazards Forecasting, National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center, Beijing, China

Abstract. The Pacific–Arctic (PA) Ocean is a region sensitive to climate change. Given the alarming changes in sea ice cover during recent years, knowledge of sea ice loss with respect to ice advection and melting processes has become critical. With satellite-derived products from the National Snow and Ice Center (NSIDC), a 38-yr record (1979–2016) of the loss in sea ice area in summer within the Pacific-Arctic (PA) sector due to the two processes is obtained. The average sea ice outflow from the PA to the Atlantic-Arctic (AA) Ocean during the summer season (June–September) reaches 173 × 103 km2, which corresponds to approximately 34 % of the mean annual export (October to September). Over the investigated period, a positive trend of 4.2 × 103 km2/yr is also observed for the outflow field in summer. The mean estimate of sea ice retreat within the PA associated with summer melting is 1.66 × 106 km2, with a positive trend of 53.1 × 103 km2/yr. As a result, the increasing trends of ice retreat caused by outflow and melting together contribute to a stronger decrease in sea ice coverage within the PA (57.3 × 103 km2/yr) in summer. In percentage terms, the melting process accounts for 90.4 % of the sea ice retreat in the PA in summer, whereas the remaining 9.6 % is explained by the outflow process, on average. Moreover, our analysis suggests that the connections are relatively strong (R = 0.63), moderate (R = −0.46), and weak (R = −0.24) between retreat of sea ice and the winds associated with the Dipole Anomaly (DA), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and Arctic Oscillation (AO), respectively. The DA participates by impacting both the advection (R = 0.74) and melting (R = 0.55) processes, whereas the NAO affects the melting process (R = −0.46).

Haibo Bi et al.
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Haibo Bi et al.
Haibo Bi et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The Arctic sea ice extent is diminishing, which is deemed as an immediate response to a warmer earth. However, quantitative estimate about the contribution due to transport and melt to the sea ice loss is still in vague. This study mainly utilizes satellite observations to quantify the dynamic and thermodynamic aspects of ice loss for a nearly 40 years (1979–2016). In addition, the potential impacts on ice reduction due to different atmospheric circulation pattern is highlighted.
The Arctic sea ice extent is diminishing, which is deemed as an immediate response to a warmer...