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https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-44
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-44
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 04 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 04 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Sea Ice Drift and Arch Formation in the Robeson Channel Using Daily Coverage of Sentinel-1 SAR Data During the 2016–2017 Freezing Season

Mohammed E. Shokr1, Zihan Wang2, and Tingting Liu2 Mohammed E. Shokr et al.
  • 1Metreological Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Ontario, M3H-5Tu, Canada
  • 2Chinese Antarctic Center of Surveying and Mapping, Wuhan University, Wuhan, 430079, China

Abstract. Robeson Channel (RC) is a narrow sea water passage between Greenland and Ellesmere Island in the Arctic. It is a pathway of sea ice from the central Arctic and out to the Baffin Bay. This paper uses a set of daily Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images from Sentinel-1A/1B, acquired between September 2016 and April 2017, to study kinematics of individual ice floes as they approach then drift through the RC. Tracking of 39 selected floes was visually performed in the image sequence and their speed was calculated and linked to the reanalysis 10 m wind from ERA5. Results show that drift of ice floes is remarkably slow while in the compact ice regime upstream of the RC unless the floe is surrounded by water or thin ice. In this case the wind has more influence on the drift. On the other hand, ice floe drift is found to be about 4–5 times faster in the open drift regime within the RC and clearly influenced by wind. A linear trend is found between change in wind and change in ice drift speed components, both along the length of the channel. Case studies are presented to reveal the role of wind on ice floe drift in details. The study also addresses the development of the ice arch at the entry of the channel. It started development on 24 January and matured on 1 February 2017. Details of the formation process, using the sequential SAR images, are presented. The arch’s shape continued to adjust by rupturing ice pieces at locations of cracks under the influence of northerly wind (hence the contour keeps displacing northward). The study highlights the advantage of using the high-resolution daily SAR coverage in monitoring aspects of sea ice cover in narrow water passages where the ice cover is highly dynamic. The information will be particularly interesting for possible applications of SAR constellation systems.

Mohammed E. Shokr et al.

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Mohammed E. Shokr et al.

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Short summary
This paper uses sequential daily SAR images covered the Robeson Channel (RC) to quantitatively study kinematics of individual ice floes with exploration of wind influence and the evolution of the ice arch at the entry of the channel. Results show that drift of ice floes within the RC and the arch are both significantly influenced by wind. The study highlights the advantage of using the high-resolution daily SAR coverage in monitoring sea ice cover in narrow water passages.
This paper uses sequential daily SAR images covered the Robeson Channel (RC) to quantitatively...
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