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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 12, issue 9 | Copyright
The Cryosphere, 12, 3017-3032, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-12-3017-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 25 Sep 2018

Research article | 25 Sep 2018

Satellite-derived sea ice export and its impact on Arctic ice mass balance

Robert Ricker1,2, Fanny Girard-Ardhuin2, Thomas Krumpen1, and Camille Lique2 Robert Ricker et al.
  • 1Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Bussestrasse 24, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2Univ. Brest, CNRS, IRD, Ifremer, Laboratoire d'Oceanographie Physique et Spatiale (LOPS), IUEM, 29280, Brest, France

Abstract. Sea ice volume export through the Fram Strait represents an important freshwater input to the North Atlantic, which could in turn modulate the intensity of the thermohaline circulation. It also contributes significantly to variations in Arctic ice mass balance. We present the first estimates of winter sea ice volume export through the Fram Strait using CryoSat-2 sea ice thickness retrievals and three different ice drift products for the years 2010 to 2017. The monthly export varies between −21 and −540km3. We find that ice drift variability is the main driver of annual and interannual ice volume export variability and that the interannual variations in the ice drift are driven by large-scale variability in the atmospheric circulation captured by the Arctic Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation indices. On shorter timescale, however, the seasonal cycle is also driven by the mean thickness of exported sea ice, typically peaking in March. Considering Arctic winter multi-year ice volume changes, 54% of their variability can be explained by the variations in ice volume export through the Fram Strait.

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We present ice volume flux estimates through the Fram Strait using CryoSat-2 ice thickness data. This study presents a detailed analysis of temporal and spatial variability of ice volume export through the Fram Strait and shows the impact of ice volume export on Arctic ice mass balance.
We present ice volume flux estimates through the Fram Strait using CryoSat-2 ice thickness data....
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