Papers on sea ice amount observations
Posted by Ari Jokimäki on October 28, 2009
This is a list of papers on the amount of sea ice globally and in Arctic and Antarctic regions. The list is not complete, and will most likely be updated in the future in order to make it more thorough and more representative.
UPDATE (August 27, 2012): Thomsen (1948), Sanderson (1975), Kelly (1979), Walsh & Johnson (1979), Walsh & Johnson (1979), Carsey (1982), Mysak & Manak (1989), Serreze et al. (1995), Serreze et al. (2003), and Rigor & Wallace (2004) added.
UPDATE (April 14, 2012): Tareghian & Rasmussen (2012) added.
UPDATE (October 10, 2010): Polyak et al. (2010) added. Thanks to Barry for pointing it out, see the comment section below.
UPDATE (December 9, 2009): Kwok et al. (2009) added.
Global sea ice papers
Analysis of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent using quantile regression – Tareghian & Rasmussen (2012) “A number of recent studies have examined trends in sea ice cover using ordinary least squares regression. In this study, quantile regression is applied to analyse other aspects of the distribution of sea ice extent. More specifically, trends in the mean, maximum, and minimum sea ice extent in the Arctic and Antarctic are investigated. While there is a significant decreasing trend in mean Arctic sea ice extent of − 4.5% per decade from 1979 through 2010, the Antarctic results show a small positive trend of 2.3% per decade. In some cases such as the Antarctic minimum ice cover, selected quantile regressions yield slope estimates that differ from trends in the mean. It was also found that the variability in Antarctic sea ice extent is higher than that in the Arctic.” Reza Tareghian, Peter Rasmussen, International Journal of Climatology, DOI: 10.1002/joc.3491.
Global analyses of sea surface temperature, sea ice, and night marine air temperature since the late nineteenth century – Rayner et al. (2003) “We present the Met Office Hadley Centre’s sea ice and sea surface temperature (SST) data set, HadISST1, and the nighttime marine air temperature (NMAT) data set, HadMAT1. HadISST1 replaces the global sea ice and sea surface temperature (GISST) data sets and is a unique combination of monthly globally complete fields of SST and sea ice concentration on a 1° latitude-longitude grid from 1871. … The sea ice fields are made more homogeneous by compensating satellite microwave-based sea ice concentrations for the impact of surface melt effects on retrievals in the Arctic and for algorithm deficiencies in the Antarctic and by making the historical in situ concentrations consistent with the satellite data.”
Analysis of merged SMMR‐SSMI time series of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice parameters 1978–1995 – Bjørgo et al. (1997) “The Nimbus 7 Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) and the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSMI) provide information on the global sea ice cover from 1978 to present. … Statistical analysis on the time series estimates the decreases in Arctic ice extent and ice area to be 4.5% and 5.7%, respectively, during the 16.8‐year observation period.” [Full text]
Observed Hemispheric Asymmetry in Global Sea Ice Changes – Cavalieri et al. (1997) “From November 1978 through December 1996, the areal extent of sea ice decreased by 2.9 ± 0.4 percent per decade in the Arctic and increased by 1.3 ± 0.2 percent per decade in the Antarctic. The observed hemispheric asymmetry in these trends is consistent with a modeled response to a carbon dioxide-induced climate warming. The interannual variations, which are 2.3 percent of the annual mean in the Arctic, with a predominant period of about 5 years, and 3.4 percent of the annual mean in the Antarctic, with a predominant period of about 3 years, are uncorrelated.”
Arctic and antarctic sea ice, 1978-1987: Satellite passive-microwave observations and analysis – Gloersen et al. (1992) “This book contains a description and analysis of the spatial and temporal variations in the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice covers from October 26, 1978 througb August 20, 1987. It is based on data collected by tbe Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) onboard the NASA Nimbus 7 satellite. … The interannual variability of the ice extent areas is much larger for the perimeter seas than for the Arctic as a whole; some regions exhibit decreasing trends, while others exhibit increasing trends. … As in the Arctic, the individual sectors have larger interannual differences than in the Antarctic as a whole, implying compensating relationships in the various regions.”
Arctic sea ice papers
History of sea ice in the Arctic – Polyak et al. (2010) “Arctic sea-ice extent and volume are declining rapidly. Several studies project that the Arctic Ocean may become seasonally ice-free by the year 2040 or even earlier. Putting this into perspective requires information on the history of Arctic sea-ice conditions through the geologic past. This information can be provided by proxy records from the Arctic Ocean floor and from the surrounding coasts. Although existing records are far from complete, they indicate that sea ice became a feature of the Arctic by 47 Ma, following a pronounced decline in atmospheric pCO2 after the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Optimum, and consistently covered at least part of the Arctic Ocean for no less than the last 13–14 million years. Ice was apparently most widespread during the last 2–3 million years, in accordance with Earth’s overall cooler climate. Nevertheless, episodes of considerably reduced sea ice or even seasonally ice-free conditions occurred during warmer periods linked to orbital variations. The last low-ice event related to orbital forcing (high insolation) was in the early Holocene, after which the northern high latitudes cooled overall, with some superimposed shorter-term (multidecadal to millennial-scale) and lower-magnitude variability. The current reduction in Arctic ice cover started in the late 19th century, consistent with the rapidly warming climate, and became very pronounced over the last three decades. This ice loss appears to be unmatched over at least the last few thousand years and unexplainable by any of the known natural variabilities.” Leonid Polyak, Richard B. Alley, John T. Andrews, Julie Brigham-Grette, Thomas M. Cronin, Dennis A. Darby, Arthur S. Dyke, Joan J. Fitzpatrick, Svend Funder, Marika Holland, Anne E. Jennings, Gifford H. Miller, Matt O’Regan, James Savelle, Mark Serreze, Kristen St. John, James W.C. White and Eric Wolff, Quaternary Science Reviews, Volume 29, Issues 15-16, July 2010, Pages 1757-1778,doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.02.010. [Full text]
Thinning and volume loss of the Arctic Ocean sea ice cover: 2003–2008 – Kwok et al. (2009) “We present our best estimate of the thickness and volume of the Arctic Ocean ice cover from 10 Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) campaigns that span a 5-year period between 2003 and 2008. … Along with a more than 42% decrease in multiyear (MY) ice coverage since 2005, there was a remarkable thinning of ∼0.6 m in MY ice thickness over 4 years. In contrast, the average thickness of the seasonal ice in midwinter (∼2 m), which covered more than two-thirds of the Arctic Ocean in 2007, exhibited a negligible trend.”
Circumpolar thinning of Arctic sea ice following the 2007 record ice extent minimum – Giles et al. (2008) “Using satellite radar altimetry data, covering the Arctic Ocean up to 81.5° North, we show that the average winter sea ice thickness anomaly, after the melt season of 2007, was 0.26 m below the 2002/2003 to 2007/2008 average. More strikingly, the Western Arctic anomaly was 0.49 m below the six-year mean in the winter of 2007/2008. These results show no evidence of short-term preconditioning through ice thinning between 2002 and 2007 but show that, after the record minimum ice extent in 2007, the average ice thickness was reduced, particularly in the Western Arctic.”
Accelerated decline in the Arctic sea ice cover – Comiso et al. (2008) “Satellite data reveal unusually low Arctic sea ice coverage during the summer of 2007, caused in part by anomalously high temperatures and southerly winds. The extent and area of the ice cover reached minima on 14 September 2007 at 4.1 × 106 km2 and 3.6 × 106 km2, respectively. These are 24% and 27% lower than the previous record lows, both reached on 21 September 2005, and 37% and 38% less than the climatological averages. Acceleration in the decline is evident as the extent and area trends of the entire ice cover (seasonal and perennial ice) have shifted from about −2.2 and −3.0% per decade in 1979–1996 to about −10.1 and −10.7% per decade in the last 10 years.” [Full text]
Recent trend reversals in arctic sea ice extents: possible connections to the north Atlantic oscillation – Parkinson (2008) “This paper reports the results of regression analysis performed on the yearly averaged ice extents for the two time periods 1979-1990 and 1990-1999, and reveals two important findings: (1) for the Arctic as a whole, the decade of the 1990s witnessed a deceleration of the trend toward lesser ice extents; and (2) the sign of the trend reversed from the 1979-1990 period to the 1990-1999 period in seven of the nine regions into which the Arctic ice cover is divided for analysis. The paper explores the possible connection between the spatial patterns of the sea ice trends and their reversals and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which reached a peak in its annual index in 1990.”
Arctic sea ice decline: Faster than forecast – Stroeve et al. (2007) “From 1953 to 2006, Arctic sea ice extent at the end of the melt season in September has declined sharply. All models participating in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC AR4) show declining Arctic ice cover over this period. However, depending on the time window for analysis, none or very few individual model simulations show trends comparable to observations. If the multi-model ensemble mean time series provides a true representation of forced change by greenhouse gas (GHG) loading, 33–38% of the observed September trend from 1953–2006 is externally forced, growing to 47–57% from 1979–2006.” [Full text]
Rapid reduction of Arctic perennial sea ice – Nghiem et al. (2007) “The extent of Arctic perennial sea ice, the year-round ice cover, was significantly reduced between March 2005 and March 2007 by 1.08 × 106 km2, a 23% loss from 4.69 × 106 km2 to 3.61 × 106 km2, as observed by the QuikSCAT/SeaWinds satellite scatterometer (QSCAT). … QSCAT data also revealed mechanisms contributing to the perennial-ice extent loss: ice compression toward the western Arctic, ice loading into the Transpolar Drift (TD) together with an acceleration of the TD carrying excessive ice out of Fram Strait, and ice export to Baffin Bay.” [Full text]
Variations in the age of Arctic sea-ice and summer sea-ice extent – Rigor & Wallace (2004) “Three of the past six summers have exhibited record low sea-ice extent on the Arctic Ocean. These minima may have been dynamically induced by changes in the surface winds. Based on results of a simple model that keeps track of the age of ice as it moves about on the Arctic Ocean, we show that the areal coverage of thick multi-year ice decreased precipitously during 1989–1990 when the Arctic Oscillation was in an extreme “high index” state, and has remained low since that time. Under these conditions, younger, thinner ice anomalies recirculate back to the Alaskan coast more quickly, decreasing the time that new ice has to ridge and thicken before returning for another melt season. During the 2002 and 2003 summers this anomalously younger, thinner ice was advected into Alaskan coastal waters where extensive melting was observed, even though temperatures were locally colder than normal. The age of sea-ice explains more than half of the variance in summer sea-ice extent.” Rigor, I. G. and J. M. Wallace (2004), Variations in the age of Arctic sea-ice and summer sea-ice extent, Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L09401, doi:10.1029/2004GL019492. [Full text]
A record minimum arctic sea ice extent and area in 2002 – Serreze et al. (2003) “Arctic sea ice extent and area in September 2002 reached their lowest levels recorded since 1978. These conditions likely resulted from (1) anomalous warm southerly winds in spring, advecting ice poleward from the Siberian coast (2) persistent low pressure and high temperatures over the Arctic Ocean in summer, promoting ice divergence and rapid melt.” Serreze, M. C., J. A. Maslanik, T. A. Scambos, F. Fetterer, J. Stroeve, K. Knowles, C. Fowler, S. Drobot, R. G. Barry, and T. M. Haran (2003), A record minimum arctic sea ice extent and area in 2002, Geophys. Res. Lett., 30(3), 1110, doi:10.1029/2002GL016406. [Full text]
Thinning of the Arctic sea‐ice cover – Rothrock et al. (1999) “Comparison of sea‐ice draft data acquired on submarine cruises between 1993 and 1997 with similar data acquired between 1958 and 1976 indicates that the mean ice draft at the end of the melt season has decreased by about 1.3 m in most of the deep water portion of the Arctic Ocean, from 3.1 m in 1958–1976 to 1.8 m in the 1990s.” [Full text]
Arctic sea ice extents, areas, and trends, 1978–1996 – Parkinson et al. (1999) “Satellite passive-microwave data for November 1978 through December 1996 reveal marked seasonal, regional, and interannual variabilities, with an overall decreasing trend of −34,300 ± 3700 km2/yr (−2.8%/decade) in Arctic sea ice extents over the 18.2-year period.”
Satellite Evidence for an Arctic Sea Ice Cover in Transformation – Johannessen et al. (1999) “Recent research using microwave satellite remote sensing data has established that there has been a reduction of about 3 percent per decade in the areal extent of the Arctic sea ice cover since 1978, although it is unknown whether the nature of the perennial ice pack has changed. These data were used to quantify changes in the ice cover’s composition, revealing a substantial reduction of about 14 percent in the area of multiyear ice in winter during the period from 1978 to 1998. There also appears to be a strong correlation between the area of multiyear ice and the spatially averaged thickness of the perennial ice pack, which suggests that the satellite-derived areal decreases represent substantial rather than only peripheral changes.” [Full text]
Diagnosis of the record minimum in Arctic sea ice area during 1990 and associated snow cover extremes – Serreze et al. (1995) “The Arctic sea ice cover exhibited its record minimum area during 1990, characterized by extensive ice‐free conditions during August along the Siberian coast. These reductions are consistent with warm, windy conditions in May and continued warmth in June promoting early melt and reductions in ice concentration, followed in August by strong coastal winds forcing a final breakup and retreat of the pack ice. The unusually warm Arctic conditions in 1990 are part of a larger‐scale temperature anomaly pattern, linking the sea ice anomaly to accompanying record minima in Eurasian snow cover.” Serreze, M. C., J. A. Maslanik, J. R. Key, R. F. Kokaly, and D. A. Robinson (1995), Diagnosis of the record minimum in Arctic sea ice area during 1990 and associated snow cover extremes, Geophys. Res. Lett., 22(16), 2183–2186, doi:10.1029/95GL02068.
Arctic Sea‐Ice extent and anomalies, 1953–1984 – Mysak & Manak (1989) “A study is presented of the seasonal and interannual variability of Arctic sea‐ice extent over the 32‐year period 1953–84. The data set used consists of monthly sea‐ice concentration values given on a 1°‐latitude grid and represents a 7‐year extension of the 25‐year data set analysed by Walsh and Johnson (1979). By focussing attention on the variability in seven distinct subregions that circumscribe the polar region, a number of interesting spatial patterns emerge in the regional seasonal cycles and anomalies of ice coverage. For example, the time‐scale of the smoothed anomaly fluctuations varies from a 4–6 year cycle in the western Arctic (e.g. the Beaufort Sea) to a decadal one in the eastern Arctic (e.g. the Barents Sea). Also, in agreement with earlier studies, a significant out‐of‐phase relationship was found between the 25‐month smoothed anomalies in the Beaufort and Chukchi Sea region and the Greenland Sea. It is proposed that this behaviour is related to atmospheric pressure anomalies associated with the see‐saw in winter air temperature between northern Europe and western Greenland. Finally, a particularly large 9‐year ice anomaly in the Greenland Sea that was centred on 1968 appears to have evolved into a substantial 4‐year Labrador Sea anomaly that peaked in 1972. Both of these anomalies coincided with the passage of the “ Great Salinity Anomaly”, which traversed cyclonically around the subpolar gyre in the northern North Atlantic during the period 1968–82.” Lawrence A. Mysak & Davinder K. Manak, Atmosphere-Ocean, Volume 27, Issue 2, 1989, 376-405, DOI:10.1080/07055900.1989.9649342. [Full text]
Arctic Sea Ice Distribution at End of Summer 1973–1976 From Satellite Microwave Data – Carsey (1982) “Passive microwave data at 1.55 cm collected by the Nimbus 5 Electrically Scanning Microwave Radiometer are analyzed to determine the areal extent and distribution of Arctic sea ice at the time of transition from summer melt to fall freeze up of years 1973–1976. While regional variations are great, the total areal coverage of ice-laden sea changes interannually only about 2% from 7 × 106 km2. Ice surviving the summer melt has a mean concentration of 0.74 and a volume of 15.8 × 103 km3, both somewhat lower than earlier estimates. Multiyear ice concentrations were measured by examining on grid cells of 200 km dimension of brightness changes associated with freezing of leads. A significant spatial variation in multiyear ice emissivity was observed which brought about spatial brightness variation comparable to that caused by typical mixtures with open water and first-year ice. Measurement errors made the detail of interannual changes in emissivity suspect.” Carsey, F. D. (1982), Arctic Sea Ice Distribution at End of Summer 1973–1976 From Satellite Microwave Data, J. Geophys. Res., 87(C8), 5809–5835, doi:10.1029/JC087iC08p05809.
An Analysis of Arctic Sea Ice Fluctuations, 1953–77 – Walsh & Johnson (1979) “Arctic sea ice data from the 1953–77 period are digitized onto a set of 300 monthly grids covering the polar cap. Each grid contains 1648 ice concentration points at a spacing of 1° latitude (60 n mi). The synthesis of the regional ice data sets is described. The digitized data are used to evaluate quantitatively the normal seasonal cycle of ice extent, the 25 year extremes for winter and summer, and the longitudinal dependence of the variance and trend of ice extent. Interannual variations of ice extent exceeding 5° latitude are found at most longitudes. The time series of total Arctic ice extent shows a statistically significant positive trend and correlates negatively with recent high-latitude temperature fluctuations. Empirical orthogonal functions of longitude are used to identify the major spatial and temporal scales of ice fluctuations within the 25-year period. The dominant spatial mode is an asymmetric mode in which the North Atlantic anomaly is opposite in sign to the anomaly over the remainder of the polar cap. A tendency for ice anomalies to persist for several months is apparent in the lagged autocorrelations of the amplitudes of the dominant ice eigenvectors. The month-to-month persistence of the ice anomalies is considerably greater than the persistence of the high-latitude meteorological anomaly fields of sea level pressure, surface temperature and 700 mb height.” Walsh, John E., Claudia M. Johnson, 1979: An Analysis of Arctic Sea Ice Fluctuations, 1953–77. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 9, 580–591. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/1520-0485(1979)0092.0.CO;2. [Full text]
Interannual Atmospheric Variability and Associated Fluctuations in Arctic Sea Ice Extent – Walsh & Johnson (1979) “Observational data are used to evaluate quantitatively the relationships between arctic sea ice extent and the high-latitude atmospheric circulation on the seasonal time scale. The sea ice data set contains 300 monthly grids of observed sea ice concentrations. The atmospheric variables include sea level pressure, surface temperature, 700-mbar height, and 700-mbar temperature. Statistically significant correlations between the dominant modes of atmospheric and sea ice variability are found at atmospheric lags of up to 2 months and ice lags of up to 4 months. The surface temperature field generally shows the strongest relationship to the sea ice fluctuations. The strongest correlations between ice anomalies and subsequent atmospheric fluctuations are found in the autumn months of increasing ice extent. Evidence of ice-atmosphere coupling is also found in the mid-latitude fields of the North Atlantic. The meteorological difference fields derived from years of extreme ice extent contain statistically significant pressure differences of up to 10–15 mbar, surface temperature differences of up to 8°–9°K, and 700-mbar height differences of up to 16–18 decameters. The anomaly centers tend to migrate seasonally with the ice edge. The statistical predictability of large-scale sea ice fluctuations decays to the level of no skill at a forecast interval of 5–6 months.” Walsh, J. E., and C. M. Johnson (1979), Interannual Atmospheric Variability and Associated Fluctuations in Arctic Sea Ice Extent, J. Geophys. Res., 84(C11), 6915–6928, doi:10.1029/JC084iC11p06915.
An Arctic Sea Ice Data Set, 1901-1956 – Kelly (1979) “The Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, is engaged in a feasibility study of the potential for Arctic sea ice prediction on climatic time scales. The main stages in this research were summarized in an appendix. The program includes the collection of sea ice data for the Arctic covering the 20th century; the statistical analysis of these data to identify the major fluctuations in sea ice extent, both spatially and temporally; correlation with climatic and atmospheric circulation data to determine the immediate causes of these sea ice variations, not excluding the possibility of feedback; and research, both theoretical and empirical, aimed at achieving the degree of understanding of the causes of these variations in climate and sea ice which is a necessary prerequisite to any predictive effort. This paper dealt with the first stage in this research: the collection of Arctic sea ice data for the 20th century. (See also W80-00566) (Humphreys-ISWS)” Kelly, PM, Glaciological Data: Workshop on Snow Cover and Sea Ice Data; Workshop held in Boulder, Colorado November 2-3, 1978. p 101-106, May 1979. 1 fig, 1 tab, 25 ref, 1 append. ONR N00014-77-G-0074.
Changes in the area of Arctic sea ice 1966 to 1974 – Sanderson (1975) Doesn’t seem to be available online. Sanderson, R. M., 1975: Changes in the area of Arctic sea ice, 1966 to 1974. Meteor. Mag., 104, 313–323.
The annual reports on the Arctic sea-ice issued by the Danish Meteorological Institute – Thomsen (1948) No abstract or full text available online. Thomsen, Helge, 1948, Journal of Glaciology, vol.1, Issue 3, pp.140-141.
Antarctic sea ice papers
Non‐annular atmospheric circulation change induced by stratospheric ozone depletion and its role in the recent increase of Antarctic sea ice extent – Turner et al. (2009) “Based on a new analysis of passive microwave satellite data, we demonstrate that the annual mean extent of Antarctic sea ice has increased at a statistically significant rate of 0.97% dec-1 since the late 1970s.”
Thickness distribution of Antarctic sea ice – Worby et al. (2008) “Ship-based observations are used to describe regional and seasonal changes in the thickness distribution and characteristics of sea ice and snow cover thickness around Antarctica. The data set comprises 23,373 observations collected over more than 2 decades of activity and has been compiled as part of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Antarctic Sea Ice Processes and Climate (ASPeCt) program. The results show the seasonal progression of the ice thickness distribution for six regions around the continent together with statistics on the mean thickness, surface ridging, snow cover, and local variability for each region and season. … The long-term mean and standard deviation of total sea ice thickness (including ridges) is reported as 0.87 ± 0.91 m, which is 40% greater than the mean level ice thickness of 0.62 m.” [Full text]
Antarctic sea ice variability and trends, 1979–2006 – Cavalieri & Parkinson (2008) “Analyses of 28 years (1979–2006) of Antarctic sea ice extents and areas derived from satellite passive microwave radiometers are presented and placed in the context of results obtained previously for the 20-year period 1979–1998. … The total Antarctic sea ice extent trend increased slightly, from 0.96 ± 0.61% decade-1 to 1.0 ± 0.4% decade-1, from the 20- to 28-year period, reflecting contrasting changes in the sector trends.”
Increasing Antarctic Sea Ice under Warming Atmospheric and Oceanic Conditions – Zhang et al. (2007) A model study, but important for the explanation of the sea ice increase in Antarctic. “Estimates of sea ice extent based on satellite observations show an increasing Antarctic sea ice cover from 1979 to 2004 even though in situ observations show a prevailing warming trend in both the atmosphere and the ocean. This riddle is explored here using a global multicategory thickness and enthalpy distribution sea ice model coupled to an ocean model. … The model shows that an increase in surface air temperature and downward longwave radiation results in an increase in the upper-ocean temperature and a decrease in sea ice growth, leading to a decrease in salt rejection from ice, in the upper-ocean salinity, and in the upper-ocean density. The reduced salt rejection and upper-ocean density and the enhanced thermohaline stratification tend to suppress convective overturning, leading to a decrease in the upward ocean heat transport and the ocean heat flux available to melt sea ice. The ice melting from ocean heat flux decreases faster than the ice growth does in the weakly stratified Southern Ocean, leading to an increase in the net ice production and hence an increase in ice mass. This mechanism is the main reason why the Antarctic sea ice has increased in spite of warming conditions both above and below during the period 1979–2004 and the extended period 1948–2004.” [Full text]
Variability of Antarctic sea ice 1979–1998 – Zwally et al. (2002) “The principal characteristics of the variability of Antarctic sea ice cover as previously described from satellite passive microwave observations are also evident in a systematically calibrated and analyzed data set for 20.2 years (1979–1998). The total Antarctic sea ice extent (concentration >15%) increased by 11,180 ± 4190 km2 yr-1 (0.98 ± 0.37% (decade)-1). The increase in the area of sea ice within the extent boundary is similar (10,860 ± 3720 km2 yr-1 and 1.26 ± 0.43% (decade)-1).”