Variability in Arctic sea ice drift

Stephanie Pfirman, William F. Haxby, Roger Colony, Ignatius Rigor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Analysis of Arctic sea ice drift from 1979-1997 using a Lagrangian perspective shows the complexities of ice drift response to variations in atmospheric conditions. Changes in ice dynamics influence the redistribution of ice, and any transported material, from different source areas. Sources of ice exported to Fram Strait shifted in about 1986/87 from dominance of the Kara Sea and Severnaya Zemlya to the New Siberian Islands, East Siberian Sea, and Chukchi Sea. Average travel time of multiyear ice within the perennial pack of the central Arctic Basin, reached a maximum in 1987/88, and decreased by at least 1 year between 1984-1989 and 1990-1997. Consistent with the observations of other investigators, this decrease in ice travel time occurred following a major export or "surge" of old ice to Fram Strait from the Beaufort Gyre in 1988 through 1990, which decreased the fraction of thick, ridged ice within the central basin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L16402 1-4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 28 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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