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Thinner Sea Ice Contribution to the Remarkable Polynya Formation North of Greenland in August 2018

Abstract

In August 2018, a remarkable polynya was observed off the north coast of Greenland, a perennial ice zone where thick sea ice cover persists. In order to investigate the formation process of this polynya, satellite observations, a coupled ice-ocean model, ocean profiling data, and atmosphere reanalysis data were applied. We found that the thinnest sea ice cover in August since 1978 (mean value of 1.1 m, compared to the average value of 2.8 m during 1978−2017) and the modest southerly wind caused by a positive North Atlantic Oscillation (mean value of 0.82, compared to the climatological value of −0.02) were responsible for the formation and maintenance of this polynya. The opening mechanism of this polynya differs from the one formed in February 2018 in the same area caused by persistent anomalously high wind. Sea ice drift patterns have become more responsive to the atmospheric forcing due to thinning of sea ice cover in this region.

摘 要

2018年8月, 一个冰间湖在位于格陵兰岛北部多年冰区通常被厚冰持续覆盖的区域被观测到. 为了研究该冰间湖的形成机制, 本文采用了卫星观测数据、 海冰-大气模型、 海洋剖面数据和大气再分析数据. 研究结果显示该年度自1978年以来最薄的8月海冰厚度 (均值1.1 m, 而1978至2017年的均值为2.2 m), 以及由北大西洋涛动引起的南风 (冰间湖存在期间北大西洋涛动指数为0.82, 而长期气候值为-0.02), 是造成此次冰间湖形成和持续的主要原因., 该冰间湖的形成机制与2018年2月同一区域的冰间湖不同, 后者是由持续性的异常大风引起的. 由于该区域海冰持续变薄, 海冰漂移对大气驱动因素的响应将会更加敏感.

Data availability

SIC and sea ice drift data were derived from NSIDC at https://doi.org/10.5067/8GQ8LZQVL0VL and at https://doi.org/10.5067/INAWUWO7QH7B, respectively (last accessed date: 20 July 2020); PIOMAS SIT data were obtained at http://psc.apl.washington.edu/zhang/IDAO/data_piomas.html (last accessed date: 20 July 2020); ocean temperature and salinity profiling data were acquired using E.U. Copernicus Marine Service Information at http://marine.copernicus.eu/services-portfolio/access-to-products/?option=com_csw&view=details&product_id=MULTIOBS_GLO_PHY_NRT_015_001 (last accessed date: 20 July 2020); ERA5 reanalysis data were obtained at https://cds.climate.copernicus.eu/cdsapp#!/dataset/reanalysis-era5-single-levels?tab=overview (last accessed date: 20 July 2020); NAO index data were derived from NOAA at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov (last accessed date: 20 July 2020); meteorological data from the Kap Morris Jesup weather station can be downloaded at https://www.timeanddate.com/weather (last accessed date: 20 July 2020). MODIS image was obtained from NASA worldview application at https://world-view.earthdata.nasa.gov (last accessed date: 20 July 2020).

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2018YFC1407206) and Academy of Finland (Grant No. 317999).

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Correspondence to Chang-Qing Ke.

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Article Highlights

• A polynya was observed in August 2018 north of Greenland in a perennial ice zone.

• Thinner sea ice cover played a critical role on the formation of this polynya.

• Sea ice drift has become more responsive to the regional wind favoring polynya formation because sea ice has become thinner.

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Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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Shen, X., Ke, CQ., Cheng, B. et al. Thinner Sea Ice Contribution to the Remarkable Polynya Formation North of Greenland in August 2018. Adv. Atmos. Sci. 38, 1474–1485 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00376-021-0136-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00376-021-0136-9

Key words

  • polynya
  • sea ice thickness
  • wind
  • sea ice drift
  • Greenland

关键词

  • 冰间湖
  • 海冰厚度
  • 海冰漂移
  • 格陵兰岛