Svalbard fjord environments with land-fast sea ice as arenas for climate research, monitoring, remote sensing validation, and dedicated process studies
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionProceedings of the IAHR International Symposium on ice. 2020, 25 (1), 199-207.
During winter and spring, parts of Svalbard fjords are covered with land-fast sea ice. The extent of fast ice areas has decreased during the last two decades, and seasons with fjord ice cover have on average become shorter. However, the different settings (e.g. size and shape of coastline, islands, connection to ocean water masses) of Svalbard fjords still give the opportunity to find fast ice with a variety of thicknesses, snow cover and physical properties. The variety of fast ice that is reasonably accessible, the fact that it is not moving and laterally relatively homogenous (“1-dimensional”) gives unique opportunities for climate research, monitoring, remote sensing calibration and validation, and dedicated process studies. Here, we present examples of such studies within sea-ice physics and biogeochemistry, satellite remote sensing, and ice mechanics from three Svalbard fjords: Kongsfjorden, Storfjorden, and van Mijenfjorden. These three fjords have different settings, with different width, length and connections to the sea. Kongsfjorden and van Mijenfjorden in the west of Svalbard are more exposed to warmer water masses and have a thinner snow cover, while Storfjorden is exposed to colder water masses and has a larger amount of snow covering the fast ice. Different to Kongsfjorden and Storfjorden, van Mijenfjorden is protected by the island Akseløya at the fjord mouth restricting influence of swell, and to some extent also reducing warm Atlantic water inflow.