Temporal and spatial distributions of Arctic sea ice thickness and pressure ridging statistics
Garrett, Robert P.
Bourke, Robert H.
Niebauer, Henry J.
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Data form the unclassified literature were reviewed to determine the regional and seasonal distributions of sea ice thickness, pressure ridging statistics, frequency of occurrence of polynyas, and keel/sail height ratios. Seasonal and regional maps and histograms of these properties were constructed. The majority of the data were obtained from submarines equipped with a narrow-beam, upward-looking sonar. As determined from an analysis of 17 submarine cruises, the overall mean thickness of Arctic sea ice above 65˚N, including both deformed and underformed ice, is 2.9 m with a standard deviation of 1.8 m. The overall seasonal mean ranges from approximately 2.4 m in spring to 3.3 m in summer. Local mean ice thicknesses ranged from less than 1 m near the marginal ice zone to greater than 7 m to the north of the Canadian Archipelago. Histograms of sea ice thickness reflect a bimodal distribution in winter and spring, an effect of the presence of thin first year ice. Due to ice melt in summer and autumn only a single mode of much thicker multi-year ice is observed.
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited
NPS Report NumberNPS 68-85-009
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