Recent decrease of summer sea ice in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica
In Austral summer 2016/17 the sea ice extent (SIE) in the Weddell Sea dropped to a near‐record value in the satellite era (1.88 × 106 km2, 56% of the long‐term mean); a large negative seasonal anomaly that persisted in an unprecedented fashion for the following three summers. Various atmospheric and oceanic factors played a part in the change. Ice loss started in September 2016 when the northern Weddell Sea experienced westerly winds of record strength advecting multi‐year sea ice from the region. In late 2016 a polynya over Maud Rise contributed to low SIE over the eastern Weddell Sea. With extensive areas of open water early in the summer, upper ocean temperatures increased by ~0.5° C, with the anomalies persisting in subsequent years. The re‐appearance of the Maud Rise polynya in 2017, high ocean temperatures and storms of record depth kept the summer SIE low.
Authors: Turner, John ORCID record for John Turner, Guarino, Maria Vittoria ORCID record for Maria Vittoria Guarino, Arnatt, Jack, Jena, Babula, Marshall, Gareth J. ORCID record for Gareth J. Marshall, Phillips, Tony ORCID record for Tony Phillips, Bajish, C.C., Clem, Kyle, Wang, Zhaomin, Andersson, Tom, Murphy, Eugene J. ORCID record for Eugene J. Murphy, Cavanagh, Rachel ORCID record for Rachel Cavanagh