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Twentieth Century Sea Ice Conditions in the Eurasian Arctic from a Comprehensive Reconstitution and Synthesis of Russian Data Sources with Modern Satellite Data


NASAThis project is funded by NASA grant NNG04GH03G

Objective

To fill specific gaps in the sea ice data record by extending the record back and forward in time

Collaborators

Roger Barry is the PI, Florence Fetterer and Vasily Smolyanisky (Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia) are Co-PIs, and Andy Mahoney is Co-Investigator.

Project Summary

The primary objective of this work is to fill specific gaps in the sea ice data record by extending the record back and forward in time. A secondary objective is to analyze the acquired data in order to provide summary statistics, and to assess the evidence for climate change in the Russian Arctic from the 1930s to the year 2000. By obtaining a 70-year record, results from shorter intervals used by modelers can be placed in the context of historical means, variability, and trends. Acquiring multidecadal records is critical for understanding links between the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and polar climate. The 1930s to 1940s saw significant high latitude warming and therefore it is important to document accompanying changes in ice conditions for comparison with those of summers since 1990.

We have acquired digitized historical ice charts of the Eurasian Arctic from the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) in St. Petersburg, Russia for the periods 1933 to 1992 and 1997 to 2006. We also have ice index data for the periods 1924 to 1933 and 1993 to 1996, creating an observational ice record that spans more than 80 years. From ice chart data, we have located the ice edge where possible in every chart and calculated seasonal ice extent anomalies for the marginal seas of the eastern Arctic. These results indicate that although there was also a retreat in autumn (annual minimum) sea ice extent in the early part of the 20th century, there was no apparent retreat in springtime (annual maximum). In recent years however, there has been a year-round retreat of eastern Arctic sea ice extent.

We are currently examining historical meteorological station data and atmospheric indices (such as the AO) to seek correlations between Arctic climate and the observed variability in sea ice. We are also comparing the AARI ice chart dataset with other digital sea ice data with the aim of producing an optimized dataset of Arctic sea ice.

Data image showing seasonal ice extent anomalies for the eastern Arctic from 1930 through the present
Compiled ice chart data showing ice edge and calculated seasonal ice extent anomalies for the marginal seas of the eastern Arctic.

Related Resources

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