A Possible Correlation between the Surface Temperature and Thickness of Arctic Sea Ice

Monday, 15 December 2014
Rhett B Herman1, Corey Roadcap1, Jordan Lynn Eagle1, Sarah B Montgomery1, Cameron Baumgardner1, Melissa Carrie Brett1 and Daniel Blake2, (1)Radford University, Radford, VA, United States, (2)Southwest VA Governors School, Pulaski, VA, United States
A geophysical survey of the Chukchi Sea ice was conducted just offshore from the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory in Barrow, Alaska. Multiple surveys were conducted along 200-meter lines using a capacitively coupled resistivity array, a thermal sensor array, and an ice drill.

A custom thermal sensor array based on the Arduino platform was constructed for this work. This array included an infrared sensor with a 35° field of view. This gave an average surface temperature reading over a spot of ≈25cm diameter with an accuracy of ±0.1°C . An ambient temperature sensor with an accuracy of ±1°C was positioned 25cm above the ice. Both of these were mounted on a repurposed GPR cart with a custom-built odometer wheel. Sets of 30 data points were collected every 17cm along the survey lines. Most data were collected during daylight hours. Some thermal data were collected in the morning twilight to study the effects of shadows cast by snow mounds.

Resistivity data were obtained at 8 to 10 vertical depths as determined by the length of the array using 2.5m dipoles. This depended on the ice thickness along a survey line as well as the equipment’s susceptibility to ambient temperature variations. The data points were obtained approximately 35cm apart horizontally. The resistivity data were inverted using software with a number of parameters to be set by the user. Adjusting these parameters caused the modeled depth to the ice/water boundary to vary significantly. The parameters have been refined through ice drill data obtained at 10-meter intervals. The ice drill was deployed only after resistivity and thermal data were obtained for each survey line. The resistivity and ice drill data showed an average ice depth of 1.2-1.7 meters, significantly thinner than in previous years’ surveys.

The modeled locations of the ice/water boundaries from the resistivity and ice drill data were compared to the surface temperatures along the survey lines. An analysis of the correlation of the temperature and ice thickness will be presented. Possible extensions of this method to further ice thickness studies will be discussed.