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Preconditioning of the 2007 sea-ice melt in the eastern Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean Public Deposited

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  • During summer 2007, perennial sea ice in the Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean, experienced an unprecedented amount of basal melt. It has previously been shown that this basal melt was linked to an increase in open-water fraction, increasing absorption of solar radiation into the ocean. GPS ice drifters, deployed around the site where the unprecedented basal melt was observed, provide a coincident observation of local divergence. This divergence is used to drive a multi-thickness category thermodynamic sea-ice model. We demonstrate that ∼75% of the observed open-water fraction by midsummer 2007 can be attributed to ice pack divergence during the growth season, preconditioning the ice pack for early melt in summer. Divergence during the melt season explains the remaining 25% of open water. Enhanced ice pack divergence in spring and summer 2007, in response to the increased transport of ice out of the Beaufort Sea, was sufficient to explain the melt observed in summer 2007 and the heat stored in the upper ocean at the end of summer.
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  • Hutchings, J. K., & Perovich, D. K. (2015). Preconditioning of the 2007 sea-ice melt in the eastern Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean. Annals of Glaciology, 56(69), 94-98. doi:10.3189/2015AoG69A006
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  • The GPS drifting buoys deployed in 2006 were funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) ARC 0520574, and further analysis funded through NSF AON 1023662. Hutchings was supported by grants to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, International Arctic Research Center (ARC) from the Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) under the JAMSTEC and IARC Collaboration Studies and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) under the Arctic Research Plan Utilizing the IARC JAXA Information System (IJIS) and Satellite Imagery. Perovich was supported by the Arctic Observing Network, NSF.
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