Mechanisms associated with the rapid decline in sea ice cover around a stranded ship in the Lazarev Sea, Antarctica

Jena, B.; Bajish, C.C.; Turner, J. ORCID:; Ravichandran, M.; Kshitija, S.; Anilkumar, N.; Singh, A.K.; Pradhan, P.K.; Ray, Y.; Saini, S.. 2022 Mechanisms associated with the rapid decline in sea ice cover around a stranded ship in the Lazarev Sea, Antarctica. Science of The Total Environment, 821, 153379.

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


In the satellite data era starting from 1979, the extent of Antarctic sea ice increased moderately for the first 37 years. However, the extent decreased to record low levels from 2016 to 2020, with the drop being greatest in the Weddell and Lazarev Seas of the Southern Ocean. An important question for the scientific fraternity and policymakers is to understand what ocean-atmospheric processes triggered such a rapid decline in sea ice. We employ in-situ, satellite, and atmospheric reanalysis data to examine the causative mechanism of anomalous sea ice variability in the Lazarev Sea at a time of ice growth in the annual cycle (March–April 2019), when a cargo ship was stuck in extensive ice cover and freed following the unusual decline in sea ice. High-resolution Sentinel-1 synthetic aperture radar captured a distinct view of the ship location and track within extensive ice cover of fast sea ice, dense pack ice, and icebergs in the Lazarev Sea on 27 March 2019. Subsequently, the sea ice cover declined and reached the fourth lowest extent in the entire satellite record during April 2019 which was 25.6% lower than the long-term mean value of 2.65 × 106 km2. We show that the anomalous sea ice variability was due to the occurrence of eastward-moving polar cyclones, including a quasi-stationary explosive development that impacted sea ice through extreme changes in ocean-atmospheric conditions. The cyclone-induced dynamic (poleward propagation of ocean waves and ice motion) and thermodynamic (heat and moisture plumes from midlatitudes, ocean mixed layer warming) processes coupled with high tides provided a conducive environment for an exceptional decline in sea ice over the region of ship movement.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 00489697
Additional Keywords: Remote sensing, Southern Ocean, Ice cover, Polar cyclones, Ocean-atmosphere–cryosphere
Date made live: 31 Jan 2022 11:28 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...