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Webinar: Sea Ice Retreat and Ocean Surface Warming in Arctic Seas

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Monday, 26 September 2016, 11:00

Monday, September 26, 2016. 11:00 AM. Webinar: Sea Ice Retreat and Ocean Surface Warming in Arctic Seas. Michael Steele, University of Washington. Sponsored by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. More information here.

Arctic sea ice extent has been declining in recent years.  Many papers tend to focus on interannual variations in the end-of-summer extent and the means to predict this quantity.  Here, we instead explore spatial and interannual variations in the pace of sea ice retreat during the spring and summer.  We have found that some areas tend to start their ice retreat earlier, relative to other areas at the same latitude, and that this retreat can be predicted with a several month lead time in some cases.  We have also found that the ice edge retreats northward at a highly nonlinear rate, i.e., sometimes it moves quite quickly, while other times it "loiters" in place for days on end.  This loitering behavior is the result of an interesting interaction between surface winds, sea ice floes, and open water surface temperature.  Finally, we find that the maximum ocean surface warming achieved in any given year depends on the timing of sea ice retreat relative to the atmospheric warming cycle, i.e., on the "phenological" or seasonal relationships between sea ice, ocean temperature, and atmospheric warming.

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