New satellite derived sea ice motion tracks Arctic contamination

W. J. Emery, C. Fowler, J. Maslanik, Stephanie Pfirman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sea ice has been reported to contain contaminants from atmospheric and nearshore sediment resuspension processes. In this study successive passive microwave images from the 85.5 GHz channels on the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) were merged with drifting buoy trajectories from the International Arctic Buoy Program to compute Arctic sea ice motion in the Russian Arctic between 1988 and 1994. Smooth daily motion fields were averaged to prepare monthly maps making it possible to compute the 7-year mean and mean seasonal ice motions as well as principal components of directional variability of sea ice motion for the entire Arctic and surrounding basins. These mean motion vectors are used to simulate the advection of contaminants deposited on or contained within the sea ice and subsequently transported into the Arctic Ocean in order to predict both their mean trajectories and dispersal over time. The 3-year displacement of contaminants from a number of Russian sites and one American site display various behaviours from substantial displacement and dispersal to almost no movement. This computational procedure could be applied to realtime SSM/I and ice buoy data to provide detailed, all-weather, vector motion maps of ice circulation to predict the path and dispersal of any new substance introduced to the sea ice and transported into the Arctic or Antarctic ocean surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-352
Number of pages8
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number7-12
StatePublished - Jul 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'New satellite derived sea ice motion tracks Arctic contamination'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this