The INTPART project “Arctic Field Summer School: Norway-USA-Canada collaboration” kicks off on May 16 in Tromsø. The first summer school in a series of three starts with a full day of keynote lectures on the topic of “Arctic Sea Ice and Remote Sensing. The lectures are open to all, welcome!


Arctic Sea Ice and Remote Sensing
Tuesday May 16. Auditorium TEK 1.022

Keynote 1: 10:30 — 11:30 North Atlantic Warming, Changing Atmospheric Circulation and Thinning Arctic sea ice
Vladimir A. Alexeev
International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA

Arctic sea ice over the last few decades experienced a significant decline in the coverage both in the summer and winter. The currently warming Atlantic Water layer has a pronounced impact on sea ice in the Nordic Seas (including Barents Sea). More open water combined with prevailing atmospheric pattern of airflow from Southeast and persistent North Atlantic storms like a recent extremely strong one, Frank in December 2015 lead to increased energy transport to the high Arctic. Each of these storms brings sizable anomalies of heat to the high Arctic, resulting in significant warming and slowing down of sea ice growth or even melting. Our analysis indicates that the recently observed sea ice decline in the Nordic Seas during the cold season around Svalbard, Franz Joseph Land and Novaya Zemlya and the associated heat release from open water into the atmosphere contributed significantly to the increase in the downwelling longwave radiation throughout the entire Arctic. Added with other changes in the surface energy budget, this increase since the 1960s to the present is estimated to be at least 10 W/m2, which can result in thinner (up to 15 cm or more) arctic ice at the end of the winter. This change in the surface budget is an important contributing factor accelerating the thinning of arctic sea ice. North Atlantic warming has other important implications on hemispheric scale, including changing weather patterns over Eurasia. One unexpected consequence is colder winters in Siberia over the last decade. These phenomena are explored both from the observational and modeling perspectives.

Keynote 2: 11:30 — 12:30 Sea ice in the earth system: Linking ice properties to human uses and remote sensing
Hajo Eicken
International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA

Sea ice is a major component of the earth system, not least because of its key role in the surface radiation budget and oceanic thermohaline circulation. As such – but also through a range of other processes – sea ice provides a range of services, benefits and threats to humans. With the Arctic sea-ice cover in the midst of a major transformation from a perennial to a seasonal presence, its role in the earth system is evolving rapidly. Some of these changes may disrupt essential sea-ice system services. We are seeing major technological advances in space-based and suborbital earth observing; remote sensing provides us with an ever-larger toolbox of approaches to observe the state of the sea-ice cover. But what exactly do we need to observe in terms of sea-ice properties and processes to best track, understand and respond to a changing sea-ice cover in terms of its role in the earth system and the societal benefits and threats associated with such change? In my presentation, I will address this question, drawing on research in Arctic Alaska. We will look beyond the tried-and-true approaches of deriving time series of sea-ice concentration and focus on the types of observations that can help guide responses to a rapidly changing Arctic.

12:30 – 13:30 LUNCH

Keynote 3: 13:30 — 14:30 Sea ice remote sensing: An overview
John Yackel
Department of Geography, University of Calgary, Canada

Satellite, airborne and surface-based remote sensing has emerged as a paramount set of data gathering tools and techniques for the characterization and measurement of sea ice properties and processes stemming from atmospheric and oceanic forcing over the seasonal and annual cycles. This keynote will review the evolution of sea ice remote sensing from the 1970’s to present and highlight the salient portions of the electromagnetic spectrum used to address knowledge gaps and generate relevant and timely sea ice information for climate and ice service applications.