Inter-annual variations observed in spring and summer Antarctic sea ice extent in recent decade
Keywords:Antarctic, Sea ice trends, SST trends, Scatterometer
The growth and decay of sea ice are complex processes and have important feedback onto the oceanic and atmospheric circulation. In the Antarctic, sea ice variability significantly affects the primary productivity in the Southern Ocean and thereby negatively influences the performance and survival of species in polar ecosystem. In present days, the awareness on the sea ice variability in the Antarctic is not as matured as it is for the Arctic region. The present paper focuses on the inter-annual trends (1999-2009) observed in the monthly fractional sea ice cover in the Antarctic at 1 × 1 degree level, for the November and February months, derived from QuikSCAT scatterometer data. OSCAT scatterometer data from India’s Oceansat-2 satellite were used to asses the sea ice extent (SIE) observed in the month of November 2009 and February 2010 and its deviation from climatic maximum (1979-2002) sea ice extent (CMSIE). Large differences were observed between SIE and CMSIE, however, trend results show that it is due to the high inter-annual variability in sea ice cover. Spatial distribution of trends show the existence of positive and negative trends in the parts of Western Pacific Ocean, Ross Sea, Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas (ABS), Weddell Sea and Indian ocean sector of southern ocean. Sea ice trends are compared with long-term SST trends (1982-2009) observed in the austral summer month of February. Large-scale cooling trend observed around Ross Sea and warming trend in ABS sector are the distinct outcome of the study.
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