Studies of the Movement of Coastal Sea Ice Near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, U.S.A

W. F. Weeks, A. Kovacs, S. J. Mock, W. B. Tucker, W. D. Hibler, A. J. Gow
1977 Journal of Glaciology  
During March-May 1976, a combination of laser and radar ranging systems was used to study the motion of both the fast ice and the pack ice near Narwhal and Cross Islands, two barrier islands located 16 and 21 km offshore in the vicinity of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Laser measurements of targets on the fast ice near Narwhal Island indicate small net displacements of approximately 1 m over the period of study (71 d) with short-term displacements of up to 40 cm occurring over 3 d periods. The main
more » ... n was outward normal to the coast and was believed to be the result of thermal expansion of the ice. The radar records of fast-ice sites farther offshore show a systematic increase in the standard deviation of the displacements as measured parallel to the coast, reaching a value of ±6.6 m at 31 km. The farthest fast-ice sites show short-term displacements of up to 12 m. There are also trends in the records that are believed to be the result of the general warming of the fast ice with time. Radar targets located on the pack ice showed large short-term displacements (up to 2.7 km) but negligible net ice drift along the coast. There was no significant correlation between the movement of the pack and the local wind, suggesting that coastal ice prediction models can only succeed if handled as part of a regional model which incorporates stress transfer through the pack. The apparent fast-ice-pack-ice boundary in the study area was located in 30-35 m of water.
doi:10.1017/s0022143000029488 fatcat:pineskeny5e7jn6ljk5kfjbxua