Antarctic sea-ice thickness and volume estimates from ice charts between 1995 and 1998

Academic Article


  • AbstractThis work evaluates two distinct calculations of central tendency for sea-ice thickness and quantifies the impact such calculations have on ice volume for the Southern Ocean. The first calculation, area-weighted average thickness, is computed from polygonal ice features and then upscaled to regions. The second calculation, integrated thickness, is a measure of the central value of thickness categories tracked across different scales and subsequently summed to chosen regions. Both methods yield the same result from one scale to the next, but subsequent scales develop diverging solutions when distributions are strongly non-Gaussian. Data for this evaluation are sea-ice stage-of-development records from US National Ice Center ice charts from 1995 to 1998, as proxy records of ice thickness. Results show regionally integrated thickness exceeds area-weighted average thickness by as much as 60% in summer with as few as five bins in thickness distribution. Year-round, the difference between the two calculations yields volume differences consistently >10%. The largest discrepancies arise due to bimodal distributions which are common in ice charts based on current subjective-analysis protocols. We recommend that integrated distribution be used for regional-scale sea-ice thickness and volume estimates from ice charts and encourage similar testing of other large-scale thickness data archives.
  • Authors

  • Stampone, Mary
  • Bernstein, ER
  • Geiger, CA
  • De Liberty, TL
  • Lemcke-Stampone, MD
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • January 1, 2015
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 383
  • End Page

  • 393
  • Volume

  • 56
  • Issue

  • 69