While variations of Baltic Sea ice extent and thickness have been extensively studied, there is little information about drift ice thickness, distribution, and its variability. In our study, we quantify the interannual variability of sea ice thickness in the Bay of Bothnia during the years 2003–2016. We use various different data sets: official ice charts, drilling data from the regular monitoring stations in the coastal fast ice zone, and helicopter and shipborne electromagnetic soundings. We analyze the different data sets and compare them to each other to characterize the interannual variability, to discuss the ratio of level and deformed ice, and to derive ice thickness distributions in the drift ice zone. In the fast ice zone the average ice thickness is 0.58±0.13 m. Deformed ice increases the variability of ice conditions in the drift ice zone, where the average ice thickness is 0.92±0.33 m. On average, the fraction of deformed ice is 50 % to 70 % of the total volume. In heavily ridged ice regions near the coast, mean ice thickness is approximately half a meter thicker than that of pure thermodynamically grown fast ice. Drift ice exhibits larger interannual variability than fast ice.
Fields of Science
- 1171 Geosciences