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Propagation of Uncertainties in Sea Ice Thickness Calculations From Basin-Scale Operational Observations: A Report Prepared for the International Ice Charting Working Group and the National/Naval Ice Center
COLD REGIONS RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING LAB HANOVER NH
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Sea ice serves as a natural flux monitor of the global heat balance. This capability is attributed to the unique location of sea ice at the interface of the worlds two largest circulation systems the air and ocean. The increased awareness of warming in the polar region has precipitated increased efforts to measure sea ice thickness as an index for global heat changes. This increased awareness has brought with it the development of several new prototype in situ, telemetry, and satellite remote sensing instruments. Each of these provides a means for measuring part or all of the frozen material at the air sea interface, but each comes with considerable limitations. The integration of these measurements into basin-scale objective analysis fields will serve as important input for global climate models, much like current-day weather forecasting systems and the El-Ni o monitoring system. As the various thickness monitoring tools begin to develop, it is critical that standards be established to record the quality of these data. This report addresses the data quality issues by examining a robust method for tracking uncertainties in measurements. The data sets considered are the two existing operational basin-scale systems ship-based observations and satellite composite analysis. Illustrative examples are included.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE