Repeated transects have become the backbone of spatially distributed ice and snow thickness measurements crucial for understanding of ice mass balance. Here we detail the transects at the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) 2019–2020, which represent the first such measurements collected across an entire season. Compared with similar historical transects, the snow at MOSAiC was thin, while the sea ice was relatively thick first-year ice and thin second-year ice.
Our results show that melt pond shapes remain detectable in the ice topography even as late as in January. The older ice types are so thin and snow-laden that by February younger ice types caught up in sea ice thickness. Finally, we show that the shape of snow dunes also governs spatial patterns in sea ice thickness.
The diverse snow and ice thickness data obtained from the MOSAiC transects represent an invaluable resource for model and remote sensing product development.