Spatial and temporal changes of photosynthetically available radiation, temperature and salinity beneath a variable sea ice cover
Rossnagel, Andrea L.
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Melt ponds greatly increase the transmission of solar radiation through sea ice relative to snow covered or bare ice. This rise in transmittance has the potential to enhance water column heating and primary production. I examine how spatially variable sea ice surfaces control the under-ice salinity, temperature and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and provide estimates of solar heating and primary production during melt. Conductivity, temperature and PAR profiles were measured in the Canadian Arctic under snow covered ice, leads, bare ice and melt ponds. The under-ice light field to a depth of 10 to 13 m was highly variable, controlled by increased transmission under melt ponds and shading by bare ice. Below, the light field became relatively homogeneous showing the depth the surface heterogeneity had an effect on transmitted PAR. Furthermore, one water column profile is not representative of the PAR, salinity or temperature under a spatially heterogeneous surface.