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Sarah Dewey

Research Assistant





Department Affiliation

Polar Science Center


2000-present and while at APL-UW

An edge-referenced surface fresh layer in the Beaufort Sea seasonal ice zone

Dewey, S.R., J.H. Morison, and J. Zhang, "An edge-referenced surface fresh layer in the Beaufort Sea seasonal ice zone," J. Phys. Oceanogr., 47, 1125-1144, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-16-0158.1, 2017.

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1 May 2017

To understand the factors causing the interannual variations in the summer retreat of the Beaufort Sea ice edge, Seasonal Ice Zone Reconnaissance Surveys (SIZRS) aboard U.S. Coast Guard Arctic Domain Awareness flights were made monthly from June to October in 2012, 2013, and 2014. The seasonal ice zone (SIZ) is where sea ice melts and reforms annually and encompasses the nominally narrower marginal ice zone (MIZ) where a mix of open-ocean and ice pack processes prevail. Thus, SIZRS provides a regional context for the smaller-scale MIZ processes. Observations with aircraft expendable conductivity–temperature–depth probes reveal a salinity pattern associated with large-scale gyre circulation and the seasonal formation of a shallow (~20 m) fresh layer moving with the ice edge position. Repeat occupations of the SIZRS lines from 72° to 76°N on 140° and 150°W allow a comparison of observed hydrography to atmospheric indices. Using this relationship, the basinwide salinity signals are separated from the fresh layer associated with the ice edge. While this layer extends northward under the ice edge as the melt season progresses, low salinities and warm temperatures appear south of the edge. Within this fresh layer, average salinity is correlated with distance from the ice edge. The salinity observations suggest that the upper-ocean freshening over the summer is dominated by local sea ice melt and vertical mixing. A Price–Weller–Pinkel model analysis reveals that observed changes in heat content and density structure are also consistent with a 1D mixing process.

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center