The influence of wind on sea ice motion in the Baffin Bay – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

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The influence of wind on sea ice motion in the Baffin Bay

Master thesis defence by Lise Lotte Christoffersen

The understanding and knowledge of sea ice motion is of great importance for climate studies and offshore activities. In this thesis the relationship between the surface wind and the sea ice motion in the Baffin Bay has been investigated by the use of remote sensing and weather data from European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

Several investigations of the relationship between the sea ice motion and the surface wind have been undertaken, such as

  • the influence of sea ice motion vector resolution
  • temporal and spatial variation of the relationship
  • the influence of wind velocities
  • the influence of variation in the mean surface temperature and sea ice extent

By usage of satellites of different resolutions it has been found, that especially the coastal and ice edge regions indicate somewhat higher correlation between the sea ice motion and surface wind when using higher resolution data. It was also indicated that different ways of extracting the sea ice motion vectors from the satellite images has a great influence on the results.

The temporal and spatial variation showed that the relationship decreased as the sea ice increased in concentration and thickness, which influenced the turning angle between the sea ice motion and surface wind.

During periods of sea ice melt and decrease in concentration, the relationship did however not increase as much as expected. This gave rise to the study of the influence of wind velocities, since summer surface winds in the Baffin Bay are significantly weaker than the winter surface wind. This study confirmed that weaker surface winds results in lower correlation between the sea ice motion and the surface wind. More studies of this influence are however needed to conclude this theory.

Supervisors: Leif Toudal Pedersen (DMI) og Anders Svensson