Cyclone impact on sea ice in the central Arctic Ocean: A statistical study


This study investigates the impact of cyclones on the Arctic Ocean sea ice for the first time in a statistical manner. We apply the coupled ice–ocean model NAOSIM which is forced by the ECMWF analyses for the period 2006–2008. Cyclone position and radius detected in the ECMWF data are used to extract fields of wind, ice drift, and concentration from the ice–ocean model. Composite fields around the cyclone centre are calculated for different cyclone intensities, the four seasons, and different regions of the Arctic Ocean. In total about 3500 cyclone events are analyzed. In general, cyclones reduce the ice concentration on the order of a few percent increasing towards the cyclone centre. This is confirmed by independent AMSR-E satellite data. The reduction increases with cyclone intensity and is most pronounced in summer and on the Siberian side of the Arctic Ocean. For the Arctic ice cover the impact of cyclones has climatologic consequences. In winter, the cyclone-induced openings refreeze so that the ice mass is increased. In summer, the openings remain open and the ice melt is accelerated via the positive albedo feedback. Strong summer storms on the Siberian side of the Arctic Ocean may have been important reasons for the recent ice extent minima in 2007 and 2012.
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