Special Feature: Marginal Ice Zone Processes in the Summertime Arctic
Marginal ice zone processes
Rapid decline in Arctic summertime sea ice extent has produced extensive seasonal ice zones, where broad marginal ice zones separate pack ice from open water. The Office of Naval Research Marginal Ice Zone program focused on the processes that control evolution of the marginal ice zone and the potential changes that may accompany increased seasonality of sea ice. The complex interplay between ice, ocean and atmospheric processes, and the potentially strong feedbacks among them, modulate sea ice melt and the transfer of momentum and buoyancy into the upper ocean. For example the influence of wind, waves and passing storms drives highly variable floe size distributions, which impact melt or formation rates of sea ice, momentum and heat transfer, light fields and phytoplankton productivity. This Special Feature presents results from the Marginal Ice Zone program, which included persistent autonomous observations of sea ice, ocean and atmosphere, extensive remote sensing and numerical investigations.