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https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-26
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-26
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 27 Feb 2020

Submitted as: research article | 27 Feb 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Opportunistic evaluation of modelled sea ice drift using passively drifting telemetry collars in Hudson Bay, Canada

Ron R. Togunov1, Natasha J. Klappstein2, Andrew E. Derocher2, Nicholas J. Lunn3, and Marie Auger-Méthé4 Ron R. Togunov et al.
  • 1Department of Zoology, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
  • 2Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E9, Canada
  • 3Wildlife Research Division, Science & Technology Branch,Environment and Climate Change Canada, CW-422 Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E9, Canada
  • 4Department of Statistics, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada

Abstract. Sea ice drift plays a central role in the Arctic climate and ecology through its effects on the ice cover, thermodynamics, and energetics of northern marine ecosystems. Due to the challenges of accessing the Arctic, remote sensing has been used to obtain large-scale longitudinal data. These data are often associated with errors and biases that must be considered when incorporated into research. However, obtaining reference data for validation is often prohibitively expensive or practically unfeasible. We used the motion of 20 passively drifting high-accuracy GPS telemetry collars originally deployed on polar bears, Ursus maritimus, in western Hudson Bay, Canada to validate a widely used sea ice drift dataset produced by the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC). Our results showed that the NSIDC model tended to underestimate the horizontal and vertical (i.e. u and v) components of drift. Consequently, the NSIDC model underestimated magnitude of drift, particularly at high ice speeds. Modelled drift direction was unbiased, however was less precise at lower drift speeds. Research using these drift data should consider integrating these biases into their analyses, particularly where absolute ground speed or direction is necessary. Further investigation is required into the sources of error, particularly in under-examined areas without in situ data.

Ron R. Togunov et al.

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Data sets

Replication Data for: Opportunistic evaluation of modelled sea ice drift using passively drifting telemetry collars in Hudson Bay, Canada A. Derocher https://doi.org/10.7939/DVN/KUIZ7G

Video supplement

Hudson Bay - 2009 - Drifting collar telemetry R. Togunov https://doi.org/10.5446/45186

Ron R. Togunov et al.

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Short summary
Sea ice drift affects important geophysical and biological processes in the Arctic. Using the motion of dropped polar bear GPS collars, our study evaluated the accuracy of a popular satellite-based ice drift model in Hudson Bay. We observed that velocity was underestimated, particularly at higher speeds. Direction was unbiased, but was less precise at lower speeds. These biases should be accounted for in climate and ecological research relying on accurate/absolute drift velocities.
Sea ice drift affects important geophysical and biological processes in the Arctic. Using the...
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