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Eng Course- All about Melting icecaps- Download Free PDF

[2] The onset of melt and melt season length are important variables for understanding the Arctic climate system.
Given the recent large losses of the Arctic summer sea ice
cover [Stroeve et al., 2005, 2008] it has become critical to
investigate the causes of the widespread decline in Arctic
sea ice and the consequences of its continued decline.
Extended or more extensive sea ice melt in response to
increasing atmospheric temperatures may be one of the
primary drivers of reduced summer sea ice. Perovich et
al. [2007] found that the total amount of solar energy
absorbed during the summer melt season was strongly
related to the timing of when melt begins. Earlier melt
onset allows for earlier development of open water areas
that in turn enhance the ice-albedo feedback. Several
approaches exist to determine melt and freeze onset of
Arctic sea ice from satellite passive microwave data [e.g.,
Smith, 1998b; Drobot and Anderson, 2001; Belchansky et
al., 2004]. In addition to passive microwave data, other
instruments have been or can be utilized to determine melt
conditions of Arctic sea ice. For example, algorithms have
been developed to detect melt from active microwave data,
e.g., scatterometers [Drinkwater and Liu, 2000; Forster et
al., 2001], and SAR data [Winebrenner et al., 1994; Kwok et
al., 2003]. Melt onset and freezeup of Arctic sea ice has also
been determined using buoy data from the International
Arctic Buoy Program/Polar Exchange at the Sea Surface
IABP/POLES [Rigor et al., 2000].

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