Variability of light transmission through Arctic land-fast sea ice during spring

M. Nicolaus, C. Petrich, S. R. Hudson, M. A. Granskog
2012 The Cryosphere Discussions  
The amount of solar radiation transmitted through Arctic sea ice is determined by the thickness and physical properties of snow and sea ice. Light transmittance is highly variable in space and time since thickness and physical properties of snow and sea ice are highly heterogeneous on variable time and length scales. We present field mea-5 surements of under-ice irradiance along repeated (March, May, June 2010) transects under un-deformed land-fast sea ice at Barrow, Alaska. The objective was
more » ... The objective was to quantify seasonal evolution and spatial variability of light transmittance through snow and sea ice. Along with optical measurements, snow depth, sea ice thickness, and freeboard were recorded, and ice cores were analyzed for Chlorophyll a and particulate matter. 10 Our results show that snow cover variability prior to onset of snow melt may cause as much spatial variability of relative light transmittance as the contrast of ponded and white ice during summer. In both instances, a spatial variability of up to three times above and below the mean was measured. In addition, we found a thirtyfold increase of light transmittance as a result of partial snowmelt. Hence, the seasonal evolution 15 of transmittance through sea ice exceeded the spatial variability. Nevertheless, more comprehensive under-ice radiation measurements are needed for a more generalized and large-scale understanding of the under-ice energy budget for physical, biological, and geochemical applications.
doi:10.5194/tcd-6-4363-2012 fatcat:jaodka2bqfbzlirplww7lkuzqu