Estimating the sea ice floe size distribution using satellite altimetry: Theory, climatology and model comparison
The Cryosphere (2019)
We present a technique for deriving statistics of the sea ice floe size distribution (FSD) from polar-orbiting altimeters. Applied to the CryoSat-2 radar altimetric record from 2010 to 2018 we produce the first pan-Arctic climatology and seasonal cycle of sea ice floe size statistics.
We then perform the first pan-Arctic test of the power-law hypothesis, finding limited support in the range of floe sizes typically analyzed in photographic observational studies.
We compare the seasonal variability in observed floe size to fully coupled climate model simulations, finding good agreement in regions where modeled ocean surface waves cause sea ice fracture.