Atmospheric Forcing Drives the Winter Sea Ice Thickness Asymmetry of Hudson Bay
Lukovich, Jennifer V.
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Recently, we highlighted the presence of a strong west‐east asymmetry in sea ice thickness across Hudson Bay that is driven by cyclonic circulation. Building on this work, we use satellite altimetry and a unique set of in situ observations of ice thickness from three moored upward looking sonars to examine the role of atmospherically driven ice dynamics in producing contrasting regional ice thickness patterns. Ultimately, north‐northwesterly winds coupled with numerous reversals during winter 2016/2017 led to thicker ice in southern Hudson Bay, while enhanced west‐northwesterly winds during winter 2017/2018 led to thicker ice in eastern Hudson Bay that delayed breakup and onset of the summer shipping season to coastal communities. Extending the analysis over the 40‐year satellite observation period, we find that these two different patterns of atmospheric forcing alter the timing of breakup by 30 days in eastern Hudson Bay and offer some skill in seasonal predictions of breakup.