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Title: Winter Coastal Divergence as a Predictor for the Minimum Sea Ice Extent in the Laptev Sea

Seasonal predictability of the minimum sea ice extent (SIE) in the Laptev Sea is investigated using winter coastal divergence as a predictor. From February to May, the new ice forming in wind-driven coastal polynyas grows to a thickness approximately equal to the climatological thickness loss due to summer thermodynamic processes. Estimating the area of sea ice that is preconditioned to melt enables seasonal predictability of the minimum SIE. Wintertime ice motion is quantified by seeding passive tracers along the coastlines and advecting them with the Lagrangian Ice Tracking System (LITS) forced with sea ice drifts from the Polar Pathfinder dataset for years 1992–2016. LITS-derived landfast ice estimates are comparable to those of the Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute ice charts. Time series of the minimum SIE and coastal divergence show trends of −24.2% and +31.3% per decade, respectively. Statistically significant correlation ( r = −0.63) between anomalies of coastal divergence and the following September SIE occurs for coastal divergence integrated from February to the beginning of May. Using the coastal divergence anomaly to predict the minimum SIE departure from the trend improves the explained variance by 21% compared to hindcasts based on persistence of the linear trend. Coastal divergence more » anomalies correlate with the winter mean Arctic Oscillation index ( r = 0.69). LITS-derived areas of coastal divergence tend to underestimate the total area covered by thin ice in the CryoSat-2/SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) thickness dataset, as suggested by a thermodynamic sea ice growth model.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of Climate
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 1063-1080
American Meteorological Society
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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