The origin and space-time evolution of Beaufort-Chukchi Sea ice anomalies are studied using data and a recently developed dynamic-thermodynamic sea-ice model. First, the relative importance of anomalies of river runoff, atmospheric temperature and wind in creating anomalous sea-ice conditions in the Beaufort-Chukchi Sea is investigated. The results indicate that wind anomalies are the dominant factor responsible for creating interannual variability in the Beaufort-Chukchi Sea ice cover. Temperature anomalies appear to play a major role for longer time scale fluctuations, whereas the effects of runoff anomalies are small. The sea-ice model is then used to track the position of a positive sea-ice anomaly as it is transported by the Beaufort Gyre toward the Transpolar Drift Stream and then exported out of the Arctic Basin into the Greenland Sea via Fram Strait. The model integration shows that sea-ice anomalies originating in the western Beaufort Sea can survive a few seasonal cycles as they propogate through the Arctic Basin and can account for a notable amount of anomalous ice export into the Greenland Sea. These anomalies, however, represent a small contribution to the fresh water budget in this area when compared with sea-ice fluctuations generated by interannually varying local winds.
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