Beaufort Sea Ice Concentration and the Climate of the Alaskan North Slope
G. Wendler1, B. Moore1, J. Curtis2, and M. Stuefer1

(1) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
(2) State Climatologist, University of Wyoming, Laramie

Abstract Proceedings of the 16th IAHR International Symposium on Ice, Dunedin, New Zealand
2 - 6 Dec., 2002. pp. 202 - 210.

Temperature and sea ice concentration measurements indicate a significant climate change in recent decades in the Western Arctic. Western Arctic temperatures have increased; the temperature rise varies significantly from one season to another and over multi-year time scales. At the same time the sea ice concentration has decreased in our investigation area extending over a major portion of the southern Beaufort Sea. We investigated changes during the 23 years period from 1972 to 1994. During this time period the temperature increased by 1.1 °C, while the mean sea ice concentration in our area of interest decreased from 88 % to 82 %. The coefficient of variation between mean annual values of temperature and sea ice concentration was 0.48. Variation coefficients between winter temperatures and the sea break-up in summer gave lower values. Strong deviations from the relationship between temperature and sea ice concentration were experienced when the atmospheric circulation was unusual, as expressed through atmospheric indices as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, NINO 3.4 and the Western Pacific Oscillation.

This study was supported by a grant from the State of Alaska to the Alaska Climate Research Center, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and a grant from CIFAR, NOAA, . Michael Robb and Brian Hartmann helped with the data reduction; to both our thanks. We would also acknowledge our collaborators from NOAA in Boulder, namely E. Dutton, R. Stone and J. Harris and the National Ice Center (NIC) for providing ice concentration data. Special thanks also to the anonymous reviewers of this paper.

2002, Proceedings of the 16th IAHR International Symposium on Ice, Dunedin, New Zealand, 2 - 6 December, 202-210
Download article (PDF)