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Changes in sea ice kinematics in the Arctic outflow region and their associations with Arctic Northeast Passage accessibility
Dawei Gui, Xiaoping Pang, Ruibo Lei, Xi Zhao, Jia Wang
doi: 10.1007/s13131-019-1451-1
Amplification of climate warming in the Arctic is causing a dramatic retreat of sea ice, which means the Arctic sea routes are becoming increasingly accessible. This study used a satellite-derived sea ice motion product to quantify the kinematic features of sea ice in the Arctic outflow region which specially referred to the Fram Strait and to the north of the Northeast Passage (NEP). An observed trend of increased southward sea ice displacement from the central Arctic to the Fram Strait indicated enhancement of the Transpolar Drift Stream (TDS). In the regions to the north of the NEP, the long-term trend of northward sea ice speed in the Kara sector was +0.04 cm/s per year in spring. A significant statistical relationship was found between the NEP open period and the northward speed of the sea ice to the north of the NEP. The offshore advection of sea ice could account for the opening of sea routes by 33% and 15% in the Kara and Laptev sectors, respectively. The difference in sea level pressure across the TDS, i.e., the Central Arctic Index (CAI), presented more significant correlation than for the Arctic atmospheric Dipole Anomaly index with the open period of the NEP, and the CAI could explain the southward displacement of sea ice toward the Fram Strait by more than 45%. The impact from the summer positive CAI reinforces the thinning and mechanical weakening of the sea ice in the NEP region, which improves the navigability of the NEP.
key words: sea ice, Arctic Northeast Passage, Transpolar Drift Stream, atmospheric circulation indices

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