Combined remote and in situ study of sea ice thickness and motion in the Fram Strait (CORESAT)
The project will improve our understanding of the sea ice thickness and sea ice drift distribution in the Fram Strait region, which has a high impact on the local Arctic and global climate.While satellite observations of the sea ice extent exist since the 1970, satellite observations of the sea ice thickness are a new development starting only at the beginning of this century. Existing methods to derive Arctic sea ice thickness and motion from satellite data were developed and validated mainly in the central Arctic Basin. However, the main gateway where sea ice leaves the Arctic Basin (~90%) is the Fram Strait. An accurate estimate of the Fram Strait sea ice volume export is needed to understand the recent Arctic sea ice decline (discrimination between thermodynamic (increased warming) and dynamic (increased export) forcing) as well as the influence on the ocean dense water formation and thereby the global thermohaline circulation.This project will exploit the
comprehensive and worldwide unique in situ sea ice observation database at the Norwegian Polar Institute and partner institutes to improve our understanding of sea ice remote sensing data. Established (ICESat ice freeboard/thickness, low-resolution radiometer/scatterometer ice drift) and new (CryoSat-2 ice freeboard/thickness, SAR ice drift, SMOS thin ice thickness) sea ice remote sensing datasets will be compared and evaluated against available in situ measurements obtained from ship, ice station, and helicopter surveys. When necessary, available remote sensing methods will be improved (ICESat, CryoSat-2) or newly developed (sea ice drift tracking from polarimetric SAR) specifically for the very dynamic and complex sea ice pack situation in Fram Strait.