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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: Global warming signals are expected to be amplified in the Arctic primarily because of ice-albedo feedback associated with the high reflectivity of ice and snow that blankets much of the region. The Arctic had been a poorly explored territory basically because of its general inaccessibility on account of extremely harsh weather conditions and the dominant presence of thick perennial ice in the region. The advent of satellite remote sensing systems since the 1960s, however, enabled the acquisition of synoptic data that depict in good spatial detail the temporal changes of many Arctic surface parameters. Among the surface parameters that have been studied using space based systems are surface temperature, sea ice concentration, snow cover, surface albedo and phytoplankton concentration. Associated atmospheric parameters, such as cloud cover, temperature profile, ozone concentration, and aerosol have also been derived. Recent observational and phenomenological studies have indeed revealed progressively changing conditions in the Arctic during the last few decades (e g , Walsh et al. 1996; Serreze et al 2000; Comiso and Parkinson 2004). The changes included declines in the extent and area of surfaces covered by sea ice and snow, increases in melt area over the Greenland ice sheets, thawing of the permafrost, warming in the troposphere, and retreat of the glaciers. These observations are consistent with the observed global warming that has been associated with the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (Karl and Trenberth 2003) and confirmed by modeling studies (Holland and Bitz, 2003). The Arctic system, however, is still not well understood complicated by a largely fluctuating wind circulation and atmospheric conditions (Proshutinsky and Johnson 1997) and controlled by what is now known as the Arctic Oscillation (AO) which provides a measure of the strength of atmospheric activities in the region (Thompson and Wallace 1998). Meanwhile, the observed Arctic conditions since the 1970s have been shown to exhibit a linear behavior that directly contradicts what has been expected from the A0 (Overland, 2005). The decade of the 1990s has been regarded as the warmest decade in the last century and current data indicates that the 2000s may be even a warmer decade than the 1990s further supporting the linear variability. In this paper, we use satellite data to gain insights into the warming Arctic and how the abnormally warm conditions during the last few years are reflected in the region.
    Keywords: Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: The Arctic is currently considered an area in transformation. Glaciers have been retreating, permafrost has been diminishing, snow covered areas have been decreasing, and sea ice and ice sheets have been thinning. This paper provides an overview of the unique role that satellite sensors have contributed in the detection of changes in the Arctic and demonstrates that many of the changes are not just local but a pan-Arctic phenomenon. Changes from the upper atmosphere to the surface are discussed and it is apparent that the magnitude of the trends tends to vary from region to region and from season to season. Previous reports of a warming Arctic and a retreating perennial ice cover have also been updated, and results show that changes are ongoing. Feedback effects that can lead to amplification of the signals and the role of satellite data in enhancing global circulation models are also discussed.
    Keywords: Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
    Type: Physics Today
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: Arguably, the most remarkable manifestation of change in the polar regions is the rapid decline (of about -10 %/decade) in the Arctic perennial ice cover. Changes in the global sea ice cover, however, are more modest, being slightly positive in the Southern Hemisphere and slightly negative in the Northern Hemisphere, the significance of which has not been adequately assessed because of unknown errors in the satellite historical data. We take advantage of the recent and more accurate AMSR-E data to evaluate the true seasonal and interannual variability of the sea ice cover, assess the accuracy of historical data, and determine the real trend. Consistently derived ice concentrations from AMSR-E, SSM/I, and SMMR data were analyzed and a slight bias is observed between AMSR-E and SSM/I data mainly because of differences in resolution. Analysis of the combine SMMR, SSM/I and AMSR-E data set, with the bias corrected, shows that the trends in extent and area of sea ice in the Arctic region is -3.4 +/- 0.2 and -4.0 +/- 0.2 % per decade, respectively, while the corresponding values for the Antarctic region is 0.9 +/- 0.2 and 1.7 .+/- 0.3 % per decade. The higher resolution of the AMSR-E provides an improved determination of the location of the ice edge while the SSM/I data show an ice edge about 6 to 12 km further away from the ice pack. Although the current record of AMSR-E is less than 5 years, the data can be utilized in combination with historical data for more accurate determination of the variability and trends in the ice cover.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: Maximum ice extents in the Arctic in 2005 and 2006 have been observed to be significantly lower (by about 6%) than the average of those of previous years starting in 1979. Since the winter maxima had been relatively stable with the trend being only about -1.5% per decade (compared to about -10% per decade for the perennial ice area), this is a significant development since signals from greenhouse warming are expected to be most prominent in winter. Negative ice anomalies are shown to be dominant in 2005 and 2006 especially in the Arctic basin and correlated with winds and surface temperature anomalies during the same period. Progressively increasing winter temperatures in the central Arctic starting in 1997 is observed with significantly higher rates of increase in 2005 and 2006. The Atlantic Oscillation (AO) indices correlate weakly with the sea ice and surface temperature anomaly data but may explain the recent shift in the perennial ice cover towards the western region. Results suggest that the trend in winter ice is finally in the process of catching up with that of the summer ice cover.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: Much of what we know about the large scale characteristics of the Okhotsk Sea ice cover comes from ice concentration maps derived from passive microwave data. To understand what these satellite data represents in a highly divergent and rapidly changing environment like the Okhotsk Sea, we analyzed concurrent satellite, aircraft, and ship data and characterized the sea ice cover at different scales from meters to tens of kilometers. Through comparative analysis of surface features using co-registered data from visible, infrared and microwave channels we evaluated how the general radiative and physical characteristics of the ice cover changes as well as quantify the distribution of different ice types in the region. Ice concentration maps from AMSR-E using the standard sets of channels, and also only the 89 GHz channel for optimal resolution, are compared with aircraft and high resolution visible data and while the standard set provides consistent results, the 89 GHz provides the means to observe mesoscale patterns and some unique features of the ice cover. Analysis of MODIS data reveals that thick ice types represents about 37% of the ice cover indicating that young and new ice represent a large fraction of the lice cover that averages about 90% ice concentration, according to passive microwave data. A rapid decline of -9% and -12 % per decade is observed suggesting warming signals but further studies are required because of aforementioned characteristics and because the length of the ice season is decreasing by only 2 to 4 days per decade.
    Keywords: Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: The possible impact of an increase in global temperatures of about 2 C, as may be caused by a doubling of atmospheric CO2, is studied using historical satellite records of surface temperatures and sea ice from late 1970s to 2003. Updated satellite data indicate that the perennial ice continued to decline at an even faster rate of 9.2 % per decade than previously reported while concurrently, the surface temperatures have steadily been going up in most places except for some parts of northern Russia. Surface temperature is shown to be highly correlated with sea ice concentration in the seasonal sea ice regions. Results of regression analysis indicates that for every 1 C increase in temperature, the perennial ice area decreases by about 1.48 x 10(exp 6) square kilometers with the correlation coefficient being significant but only -0.57. Arctic warming is estimated to be about 0.46 C per decade on average in the Arctic but is shown to be off center with respect to the North Pole, and is prominent mainly in the Western Arctic and North America. The length of melt has been increasing by 13 days per decade over sea ice covered areas suggesting a thinning in the ice cover. The length of melt also increased by 5 days per decade over Greenland, 7 days per decade over the permafrost areas of North America but practically no change in Eurasia. Statistically derived projections indicate that the perennial sea ice cover would decline considerably in 2025, 2035, and 2060 when temperatures are predicted by models to reach the 2 C global increase.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: Sea ice in the Southern Ocean is a major controlling factor on phytoplankton productivity and growth, but the relationship is modified by regional differences in atmospheric and oceanographic conditions. We used the phytoplankton biomass (binned at 7-day intervals), PAR and cloud cover data from SeaWiFS, ice concentrations data from SSM/I and AMSR-E, and sea-surface temperature data from AVHRR, in combination with a vertically integrated model to estimate primary productivity throughout the Southern Ocean (south of 60"s). We also selected six areas within the Southern Ocean and analyzed the variability of the primary productivity and trends through time, as well as the relationship of sea ice to productivity. We found substantial interannual variability in productivity from 1997 - 2005 in all regions of the Southern Ocean, and this variability appeared to be driven in large part by ice dynamics. The most productive regions of Antarctic waters were the continental shelves, which showed the earliest growth, the maximum biomass, and the greatest areal specific productivity. In contrast, no large, sustained blooms occurred in waters of greater depth (〉 1,000 m). We suggest that this is due to the slightly greater mixed layer depths found in waters off the continental shelf, and that the interactive effects of iron and irradiance (that is, increased iron requirements in low irradiance environments) result in the limitation of phytoplankton biomass over large regions of the Southern Ocean.
    Keywords: Oceanography
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: We use two algorithms to process AMSR-E data in order to determine algorithm dependence, if any, on the estimates of sea ice concentration, ice extent and area, and trends and to evaluate how AMSR-E data compare with historical SSM/I data. The monthly ice concentrations derived from the two algorithms from AMSR-E data (the AMSR-E Bootstrap Algorithm, or ABA, and the enhanced NASA Team algorithm, or NT2) differ on average by about 1 to 3%, with data from the consolidated ice region being generally comparable for ABA and NT2 retrievals while data in the marginal ice zones and thin ice regions show higher values when the NT2 algorithm is used. The ice extents and areas derived separately from AMSR-E using these two algorithms are, however, in good agreement, with the differences (ABA-NT2) being about 6.6 x 10(exp 4) square kilometers on average for ice extents and -6.6 x 10(exp 4) square kilometers for ice area which are small compared to mean seasonal values of 10.5 x 10(exp 6) and 9.8 x 10(exp 6) for ice extent and area: respectively. Likewise, extents and areas derived from the same algorithm but from AMSR-E and SSM/I data are consistent but differ by about -24.4 x 10(exp 4) square kilometers and -13.9 x 10(exp 4) square kilometers, respectively. The discrepancies are larger with the estimates of extents than area mainly because of differences in channel selection and sensor resolutions. Trends in extent during the AMSR-E era were also estimated and results from all three data sets are shown to be in good agreement (within errors).
    Keywords: Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: The perennial ice area was drastically reduced to 38% of its climatological average in 2007 but recovered somewhat in 2008, 2009 and 2010 with the areas being 10%, 24%, and 11% higher than in 2007, respectively. However, the trends in the extent and area remain strongly negative at -12.2% and -13.5 %/decade, respectively. The thick component of the perennial ice, called multiyear ice, as detected by satellite data in the winters of 1979 to 2011 was studied and results reveal that the multiyear ice extent and area are declining at an even more rapid rate of -15.1% and -17.2 % per decade, respectively, with record low value in 2008 followed by higher values in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Such high rate in the decline of the thick component of the Arctic ice cover means a reduction in average ice thickness and an even more vulnerable perennial ice cover. The decline of the multiyear ice area from 2007 to 2008 was not as strong as that of the perennial ice area from 2006 to 2007 suggesting a strong role of second year ice melt in the latter. The sea ice cover is shown to be strongly correlated with surface temperature which is increasing at about three times global average in the Arctic but appears weakly correlated with the AO which controls the dynamics of the region. An 8 to 9-year cycle is apparent in the multiyear ice record which could explain in part the slight recovery in the last three years.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2013-08-31
    Description: A time series of daily brightness temperature gridded maps (October 25, 1978 through August 15, 1987) were generated from all ten channels of the Nimbus-7 Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer orbital data. This unique data set can be utilized in a wide range of applications including heat flux, ocean circulation, ice edge productivity, and climate studies. Two sets of data in polar stereographic format are created for the Arctic region: one with a grid size of about 30 km on a 293 by 293 array similar to that previously utilized for the Nimbus-5 Electrically Scanning Microwave Radiometer, while the other has a grid size of about 25 km on a 448 by 304 array identical to what is now being used for the DMSP Scanning Multichannel Microwave Imager. Data generated for the Antaractic region are mapped using the 293 by 293 grid only. The general technique for mapping, and a quality assessment of the data set are presented. Monthly and yearly averages are also generated from the daily data and sample geophysical ice images and products derived from the data are given. Contour plots of monthly ice concentrations derived from the data for October 1978 through August 1987 are presented to demonstrate spatial and temporal detail which this data set can offer, and to show potential research applications.
    Keywords: GEOSCIENCES (GENERAL)
    Type: REPT-89B00167 , NASA-RP-1223 , NAS 1.61:1223
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