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Seasonal predictability of summer melt ponds from winter sea ice surface temperature
  • +7
  • Linda Thielke,
  • Niels Fuchs,
  • Gunnar Spreen,
  • Bruno Tremblay,
  • Gerit Birnbaum,
  • Marcus Huntemann,
  • Nils Hutter,
  • Polona Itkin,
  • Arttu Jutila,
  • Melinda Anne Webster
Linda Thielke
Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Niels Fuchs
Center for Earth System Sustainability
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Gunnar Spreen
University of Bremen
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Bruno Tremblay
McGill University
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Gerit Birnbaum
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
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Marcus Huntemann
Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen
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Nils Hutter
Cooperative Institute for Climate
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Polona Itkin
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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Arttu Jutila
Alfred Wegener Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
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Melinda Anne Webster
University of Alaska Fairbanks/Geophysical Institute
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Comparing helicopter-borne surface temperature maps in winter and optical orthomosaics in summer from the year-long Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition, we find a strong geometric correlation between warm anomalies in winter and melt pond location the following summer. Warm anomalies are attributed to thinner snow and ice on level ice compared to the deformed ice in the surroundings or refrozen leads with only newly formed, thin ice. Warm surface temperature anomalies in January were 0.3 K to 2.5 K warmer on sea ice that later formed melt ponds. A one-dimensional steady-state thermodynamic model shows that the observed surface temperature differences are in line with the observed ice thickness and snow depth. We demonstrate the potential of seasonal prediction of summer melt pond location and coverage from winter surface temperature observations. A threshold-based classification achieves a correct classification for 41% of the melt ponds.