N-ICE2015: Sea ice dynamics

Sea-ice drift determines the dynamic part of the Arctic sea-ice mass balance, i.e., ice export and dynamic growth. High-resolution observations of sea ice dynamics are needed to (1) gain better understanding of small scale deformation processes, (2) evaluate and improve satellite derived drift datasets, and (3) improve model parameterizations of drag coefficients and ice strength, which have changed due to the thinner, younger, and more mobile ice cover during recent years.

A better understanding of sea ice drift and deformation processes is critical to correctly predict the evolution of the Arctic ice pack. The dynamics of the thinner Arctic ice cover will be studied using autonomous GPS buoys and satellite imagery. A regional data set of the ice dynamics in the winter-to-spring transition period will be achieved by deploying arrays of GPS drifters around the ship (tens of kilometers away) complemented by satellite radar mapping. Wave buoys are used to study the effects of waves on the ice pack. The GPS drifter data will be used to evaluate current satellite data and ice forecasting models and thereby develop improved parameterizations. On a smaller scale the ships radar will be used to look at the ice dynamics in the vicinity of the ship throughout the campaign.