Sea ice transports in the Weddell Sea

Harms, Sabine, Fahrbach, Eberhard and Strass, V. H. (2001) Sea ice transports in the Weddell Sea Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 106 (C5). pp. 9057-9073. DOI 10.1029/1999JC000027.

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Time series of sea ice draft in the Weddell Sea are evaluated together with hydrographic observations, satellite passive microwave data, and ice drift for estimation of the freshwater fluxes into and out of the Weddell Sea. Ice draft is measured with moored upward looking sonars since 1990 along two transects across the Weddell Gyre. One transect, extending from the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula to Kapp Norvegia, was sampled between 1990 and 1994 and covers the flow into and out of the southern Weddell Sea. The other transect, sampled since 1996 and extending from the Antarctic continent northward along the Greenwich meridian, covers the exchange of water masses between the eastern and the western Weddell Sea. In order to relate results obtained during the different time periods, empirical relationships are established between the length of the sea ice season, derived from the satellite passive microwave data and defined as the number of days per year with the sea ice concentration exceeding 15%, and (1) the annual mean ice draft and (2) the annual mean ice volume transport. By using these empirical relationships, estimates of annual mean ice drafts and ice volume transports are derived at all mooring sites for the period February 1979 through February 1999. Wind and current force a westward ice transport in the coastal areas of the eastern Weddell Sea and a northward ice transport in the west. During the 2-year period 1991/1992 the mean ice volume export from the Weddell Sea is (50 ± 19) × 103 m3 s−1. This freshwater export is representative for a longer-term (20-year) mean and exceeds the average amount of freshwater gained by precipitation and ice shelf melt by about 19×103 m3 s−1, yielding an upper bound for the formation rate of newly ventilated bottom water in the Weddell Sea of 2.6 Sv.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: AWI
OceanRep > Institute for Marine Science Kiel
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1029/1999JC000027
ISSN: 2169-9275
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:25
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2017 08:43

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