Seasonal Changes of Arctic Sea Ice Physical Properties Observed During N-ICE2015: An Overview

Wednesday, 16 December 2015: 08:00
3005 (Moscone West)
Sebastian Gerland, Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway
Arctic sea ice is changing, and for improving the understanding of the cryosphere, data is needed to describe the status and processes controlling current seasonal sea ice growth, change and decay. We present preliminary results from in-situ observations on sea ice in the Arctic Basin north of Svalbard from January to June 2015. Over that time, the Norwegian research vessel «Lance» was moored to in total four ice floes, drifting with the sea ice and allowing an international group of scientists to conduct detailed research. Each drift lasted until the ship reached the marginal ice zone and ice started to break up, before moving further north and starting the next drift. The ship stayed within the area approximately 80°-83° N and 5°-25° E. While the expedition covered measurements in the atmosphere, the snow and sea ice system, and in the ocean, as well as biological studies, in this presentation we focus on physics of snow and sea ice. Different ice types could be investigated: young ice in refrozen leads, first year ice, and old ice. Snow surveys included regular snow pits with standardized measurements of physical properties and sampling. Snow and ice thickness were measured at stake fields, along transects with electromagnetics, and in drillholes. For quantifying ice physical properties and texture, ice cores were obtained regularly and analyzed. Optical properties of snow and ice were measured both with fixed installed radiometers, and from mobile systems, a sledge and an ROV. For six weeks, the surface topography was scanned with a ground LIDAR system. Spatial scales of surveys ranged from spot measurements to regional surveys from helicopter (ice thickness, photography) during two months of the expedition, and by means of an array of autonomous buoys in the region. Other regional information was obtained from SAR satellite imagery and from satellite based radar altimetry. The analysis of the data collected has started, and first results will be presented.