Sea ice circulation around the Beaufort Gyre; The changing role of wind forcing and the sea ice state

by Alek Petty, Jennifer Hutchings, Jacqueline Richter-Menge, Mark Tschudi (2016)



Petty, A. A., J. K. Hutchings, J. A. Richter-Menge, and M. A. Tschudi (2016), Sea ice circulation around the Beaufort Gyre; The changing role of wind forcing and the sea ice state, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 121(5), 3278–3296, doi:10.1002/2015JC010903.


Sea ice drift estimates from feature tracking of satellite passive microwave data are used to investigate seasonal trends and variability in the ice circulation around the Beaufort Gyre, over the multidecadal period 1980–2013. Our results suggest an amplified response of the Beaufort Gyre ice circulation to wind forcing, especially during the late 2000s. We find increasing anticyclonic ice drift across all seasons, with the strongest trend in autumn, associated with increased ice export out of the southern Beaufort Sea (into the Chukchi Sea). A flux gate analysis highlights consistency across a suite of drift products. Despite these seasonal anticyclonic ice drift trends, a significant anticyclonic wind trend occurs in summer only, driven, in-part, by anomalously anticyclonic winds in 2007. Across all seasons, the ice drift curl is more anticyclonic than predicted from a linear relationship to the wind curl in the 2000s, compared to the 1980s/1990s. The strength of this anticyclonic ice drift curl amplification is strongest in autumn and appears to have increased since the 1980s (up to 2010). In spring and summer, the ice drift curl amplification occurs mainly between 2007 and 2010. These results suggest nonlinear ice interaction feedbacks (e.g., a weaker, more mobile sea ice pack), enhanced atmospheric drag, and/or an increased role of the ocean. The results also show a weakening of the anticyclonic wind and ice circulation since 2010.


    title = {Sea Ice Circulation around the Beaufort Gyre: The Changing Role of Wind Forcing and the Sea Ice State},
    volume = {121},
    issn = {2169-9291},
    doi = {10.1002/2015JC010903},
    number = {5},
    journal = {J. Geophys. Res. Oceans},
    author = {Petty, Alek A. and Hutchings, Jennifer K. and Richter-Menge, Jacqueline A. and Tschudi, Mark A.},
    month = may,
    year = {2016},
    pages = {3278--3296},