Understanding the Arctic sea ice cover is key as an indicator of the rapidity of global warming, for its role in accelerating atmospheric change through processes such as ice-albedo feedback, and its impact on the global thermohaline circulation by changes in the mass of sea ice advected out of the Arctic Basin through Fram Strait. Ice elevation measurements by LiDAR on board the IceSAT 2 satellite can provide better regional scales to characterise the ice cover but lack validation data at the appropriate regional scales.
The rapidly changing characteristics of the Arctic and the few studies north of Greenland and in the East Greenland outflow make the GLACE expedition a unique opportunity to greatly expand the sea ice data set, both at high resolution and over spatial scales compatible with remote sensing. UTSA’s unique Sea Ice Measurement System on the GLACE vessel can make sea ice measurements for the parameters of ice thickness, snow depth, ice concentration, ice roughness, ice elevation (freeboard), melt pond coverage, and ice surface temperature over the vessel track line while the vessel is underway during leg 2 to North and East Greenland.
Our goal is to characterise these sea ice covers as they have evolved from the previous period to the present “New Normal” for the Arctic, and to use the ship-based validation to convert IceSAT-2 elevation data to ice thickness for this rapidly changing region now and in the future.