On the Wind-Wave Roughness of Melt Ponds on First-Year Sea Ice
Scharien, Randall; Barber, D.G.
University of Manitoba, CANADA

During the Arctic summer melt period, low albedo melt ponds form on sea ice surface, affecting energy and mass exchanges across the atmosphere-sea ice-ocean interface. The uptake of gases such as CO2 is expected to be enhanced when melt ponds are present, due to increases in air-water exchange occurring due to wind-wave roughening combined with the vertical flushing of melt water and replacement with fresh water from adjacent snow and ice melt. Here we present an ultrasonic distance sensing method to detect water waves on melt ponds, using test data acquired during a field study on first-year sea ice in the central Canadian Arctic Archipelago between 18 and 24 June 2012. Surface water wave properties are characterised by combining existing theory with measured parameters, and by utilizing coincident measurements of the surface wind speed and melt pond physical properties. Variations in the amplitude of water waves are further evaluated within the contexts of gas transfer rates over melt pond covered sea ice, and the interactions of microwave energy with melt ponds from active satellites.