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Variability and Trends in Sea Ice Extent and Ice Production in the Ross SeaSalt release during sea ice formation in the Ross Sea coastal regions is regarded as a primary forcing for the regional generation of Antarctic Bottom Water. Passive microwave data from November 1978 through 2008 are used to examine the detailed seasonal and interannual characteristics of the sea ice cover of the Ross Sea and the adjacent Bellingshausen and Amundsen seas. For this period the sea ice extent in the Ross Sea shows the greatest increase of all the Antarctic seas. Variability in the ice cover in these regions is linked to changes in the Southern Annular Mode and secondarily to the Antarctic Circumpolar Wave. Over the Ross Sea shelf, analysis of sea ice drift data from 1992 to 2008 yields a positive rate of increase in the net ice export of about 30,000 sq km/yr. For a characteristic ice thickness of 0.6 m, this yields a volume transport of about 20 cu km/yr, which is almost identical, within error bars, to our estimate of the trend in ice production. The increase in brine rejection in the Ross Shelf Polynya associated with the estimated increase with the ice production, however, is not consistent with the reported Ross Sea salinity decrease. The locally generated sea ice enhancement of Ross Sea salinity may be offset by an increase of relatively low salinity of the water advected into the region from the Amundsen Sea, a consequence of increased precipitation and regional glacial ice melt.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Goddard Space Flight Center
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Comiso, Josefino
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Kwok, Ronald
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Martin, Seelye
(Washington Univ. Seattle, WA, United States)
Gordon, Arnold L.
(Columbia Univ. New York, NY, United States)
Date Acquired
August 26, 2013
Publication Date
April 21, 2011
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Volume: 116
Subject Category
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: Contrib-7397
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