Coincident buoy- and SAR-derived surface fluxes in the western Weddell Sea during Ice Station Weddell 1992

Drinkwater, M. R.
Geiger, Cathleen A.
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American Geophysical Union
We examine sea ice kinematics relevant to surface fluxes using ERS-1 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images coincident with buoys in the western Weddell Sea in austral autumn of 1992. Careful matching of temporal and spatial scales shows that buoy- and SAR-derived velocities differ in root-mean-square error (RMSE) by 0.6 cm s(-1) and 7.80 degrees in magnitude and direction, respectively. These values represent agreements of 91.3% and 92.7%, respectively, and correspond to instrument uncertainties. Scaling analysis shows that shear matching is best at the smallest scales (<= 5 km), while divergence is better represented at scales of 40 km and larger. Sensitivity to error propagation shows lower agreement for divergence (47.4%; RMSE = 7.46 x 10-(8) s(-1)), but we find these results sufficient for integrated surface flux comparisons. Using a toy model, we test the effects of aliasing in surface flux determination. The results show that variability associated with storms, ocean tides, inertial oscillations, and other high-frequency forcing affects integrated sea ice growth rates along this continental slope location. Integrated salt and new ice production rates computed from buoys are found to be two times larger than those computed from ERS-1 SAR motion products. We show that these differences in salt and ice production rates result primarily from inadequate temporal resolution of heat flux variability and sea ice divergence. Comparison with other studies shows that the problem is widespread, thereby impacting the modeling of sea ice mass balance and variability. The small-scale processes cited here have significant ramifications for larger scales and the global thermohaline circulation.
Final published version
Geiger, C. A., and M. R. Drinkwater (2005), Coincident buoy- and SAR-derived surface fluxes in the western Weddell Sea during Ice Station Weddell 1992, J. Geophys. Res., 110, C04002, doi:10.1029/2003JC002112.