East Antarctic Landfast Sea Ice Distribution and Variability, 2000–08

Journal of Climate (Volume 25, Issue 4)

Fraser, A.D., R.A. Massom, K.J. Michael, B.K. Galton-Fenzi and J.L. Lieser. 2012. East Antarctic landfast sea-ice distribution and variability, 2000-2008. Journal of Climate, 25, 1137-1156.

This study presents the first continuous, high spatiotemporal resolution time series of landfast sea ice extent along the East Antarctic coast for the period March 2000–December 2008. The time series was derived from consecutive 20-day cloud-free Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) composite images. Fast ice extent across the East Antarctic coast shows a statistically significant (1.43% ±0.30% yr−1) increase. Regionally, there is a strong increase in the Indian Ocean sector (20°–90°E, 4.07% ±0.42% yr−1), and a nonsignificant decrease in the western Pacific Ocean sector (90°–160°E, −0.40% ±0.37% yr−1). An apparent shift from a negative to a positive extent trend is observed in the Indian Ocean sector from 2004. This shift also coincides with a greater amount of interannual variability. No such shift in apparent trend is observed in the western Pacific Ocean sector, where fast ice extent is typically higher and variability lower than the Indian Ocean sector. The limit to the maximum fast ice areal extent imposed by the location of grounded icebergs modulates the shape of the mean annual fast ice extent cycle to give a broad maximum and an abrupt, relatively transient minimum. Ten distinct fast ice regimes are identified, related to variations in bathymetry and coastal configuration. Fast ice is observed to form in bays, on the windward side of large grounded icebergs, between groups of smaller grounded icebergs, between promontories, and upwind of coastal features (e.g., glacier tongues). Analysis of the timing of fast ice maxima and minima is also presented and compared with overall sea ice maxima/minima timing.


Authorised by the CEO of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre October 2019.

The ACE CRC was established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program.

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