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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-288
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-288
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 18 Dec 2019

Submitted as: research article | 18 Dec 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Observations of Sea Ice Melt from Operation IceBridge Imagery

Nicholas C. Wright1, Chris M. Polashenski1,2, Scott T. McMichael3, and Ross A. Beyer3,4 Nicholas C. Wright et al.
  • 1Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA
  • 2U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratories, Hanover, NH, USA
  • 3NASAAmesResearchCenter, Moffet Field, CA, USA
  • 4SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA, USA

Abstract. The summer albedo of Arctic sea ice is heavily dependent on the fraction and color of melt ponds that form on the ice surface. This work presents a new dataset of sea ice surface fractions along Operation IceBridge (OIB) flight tracks derived from the Digital Mapping System optical imagery set. This dataset was created by deploying version 2 of the Open Source Sea-ice Processing (OSSP) algorithm to NASA’s Advanced Supercomputing Pleiades System. These new surface fraction results are then analyzed to investigate the behavior of meltwater on first-year ice in comparison to multiyear ice. Observations herein show that first-year ice does not ubiquitously have a higher melt pond fraction than multiyear ice under the same forcing conditions, contrary to established knowledge in the sea ice community. We discover and document a larger possible spread of pond fractions on first year ice leading to both high and low pond coverage, in contrast to the uniform melt evolution that has been previously observed on multiyear ice floes. We also present a selection of optical images that captures both the typical and atypical ice types, as observed from the OIB dataset. We hope to demonstrate the power of this new dataset and to encourage future collaborative efforts to utilize the OIB data to explore the behavior of melt pond formation Arctic sea ice.

Nicholas C. Wright et al.
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Nicholas C. Wright et al.
Model code and software

Open-source Sea ice Processing Algorithm N. Wright and C. Polashenski https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3551033

Nicholas C. Wright et al.
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Short summary
This work presents a new dataset of sea ice surface fractions along NASA Operation IceBridge flight tracks created by processing hundreds of thousands of aerial images on a supercomputer. These results are then analyzed to investigate the behavior of meltwater on first-year ice in comparison to multiyear ice. We show that first-year ice does not ubiquitously have a higher melt pond fraction than multiyear ice, contrary to established knowledge in the sea ice community.
This work presents a new dataset of sea ice surface fractions along NASA Operation IceBridge...
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