Ice production in Storfjorden (Svalbard) estimated from a model based on AMSR-E observations: impact on water mass properties

Storfjorden, which hosts a latent heat polynya, is a well known region of dense water formation. This Brine-enriched Shelf Water (BSW) displays substantial year to year variability in its properties, which is partly linked to interannual variations in ice production. Here we have developed a model b...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Main Authors: Jardon, Fernanda P., Vivier , F., Bouruet-Aubertot, P., Lourenco, A., Cuypers, Y., Willmes, Sascha
Format: Article in Journal/Newspaper
Language:unknown
Published: Wiley 2014
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Online Access:http://oceanrep.geomar.de/25359/
http://oceanrep.geomar.de/25359/1/Jardon%20et.al.pdf
https://doi.org/10.1002/2013JC009322
Description
Summary:Storfjorden, which hosts a latent heat polynya, is a well known region of dense water formation. This Brine-enriched Shelf Water (BSW) displays substantial year to year variability in its properties, which is partly linked to interannual variations in ice production. Here we have developed a model based on high-resolution AMSR-E satellite sea-ice concentration data, available between 2002 and 2011, and atmospheric forcing to estimate the ice production in the polynya and associated salt release. The average modeled ice production for the epoch 2002–2011 is 47 km3 per year, corresponding to a salt release of 1200 × 109 kg. The two most anomalous winters were 2004–2005 (salt deficit of −367 × 109 kg) and 2007–2008 (salt excess of 398 × 109 kg). Available observations of BSW properties are relatively scarce during this period and are here augmented with data collected in March 2007 from an ice-tethered mooring to the northwest of the fjord. BSW was found up to the surface, with maximum salinity and density of 35.27 and 28.4 kg m−3, respectively, at 55 m. In addition, supercooled water was found down to 10 m under relatively mild atmospheric conditions. It is shown to have formed a week before, during an intense frazil ice formation episode, exceeding 2 km3 of frazil ice according to the model. Although observations remain too few to robustly assess the relation between ice production and BSW properties, there is suggestion of a direct impact for most anomalous years. The exceptional ice production in 2007–2008 is most likely the cause of the very saline BSW in 2008 and strong plume of dense water toward Fram Strait reported by other authors. Anomalous ice production appears predominantly driven by the duration of the freezing season and anomalous opening of the polynya.