Quantifying Sea Ice Dynamics in the Beaufort Sea, 2012–2015

Lead: Chris Derksen, University of Waterloo

Sea ice within the Beaufort Sea region circulates according to the predominantly anti-cyclonic Beaufort Gyre, but very little quantitative information about sea ice motion exists. This project is deriving sea ice motion products for the Beaufort Sea region using the Canadian Ice Service’s operational archive of RADARSAT-1 and RADARSAT-2 imagery and Environment Canada’s new sea ice motion tracking algorithm. The results of this analysis will establish a baseline sea ice motion dataset which can be used to plan and support future offshore operations. Results will also provide BREA with information on regional changes in sea ice dynamics that have occurred within the context of changes in the sea ice regime of the Beaufort Sea region during recent decades, marked by pronounced warming trends in the region. In addition, the ice motion products will serve as validation for a new state-of-the-art atmosphere-ice-ocean model for operational sea ice forecasting in the Beaufort Sea, currently under development at Environment Canada.