Particle‐laden Eurasian Arctic sea ice: observations from July and August 1987


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During the summer 1987 expedition of the polar research vessel‘Polarstern’in the Eurasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean, sea ice at about 84‐86°N and 20‐30°E was found to have high concentrations of particulate material. The particle‐laden ice occurred in patches which often darkened more than half the ice surface at our northernmost positions. Much of this ice appeared to be within the Siberian Branch of the Transpolar Drift stream, which transports deformed, multi‐year ice from the Siberian shelves westward across the Eurasian Basin. Lithogenic sediment, which is the major component of the particulate material, may have been incorporated during ice formation on the shallow Siberian seas. Diatoms collected from the particle‐rich ice surfaces support this conclusion, as assemblages were dominated by a marine benthic species similar to that reported from sea ice off the coast of northeast Siberia. Based on drift trajectories of buoys deployed on the ice it appears that much of the particle‐laden ice exited the Arctic Ocean through the Fram Strait and joined the East Greenland Current. Very different sea ice characteristics were found east of the Yermak Plateau and north of Svalbard and Frans Josef Land up to about 83‐84°N. Here sea ice was thinner, less deformed, with lower amounts of lithogenic sediment and diatoms. The diatom assemblage was dominated by planktonic freshwater species. Trajectories of buoys deployed on sea ice in this region indicated a tendency for southward transport to the Yermak Plateau or into the Barents Sea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalPolar Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Environmental Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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