The Influence of Arctic Landfast Ice on Seasonal Modulation of the M2 Tide

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Seasonal modulation of the M2 tide has been quantified for the entire Arctic Ocean and connected regional seas, using tidal harmonic analysis of water levels derived from Synthetic Aperture Radar altimetry. Results are compared to numerical simulations that model the effect of two limiting cases of seasonal landfast ice cover on the M2 tide. The largest seasonal modulation (up to 0.25 m) is observed along coastlines and in bays. Locally, the presence of landfast ice decreases amplitudes, but in some cases, the opposite effect was observed further afield. In most of the Arctic, winter months experience a later arrival of the tide, except for Hudson Bay where phase advance is observed. Most of the altimeter-derived seasonal modulation could be explained by the modeled impact of landfast ice. However, particularly in the Hudson Bay system there is a discrepancy between model- and altimeter-derived seasonal modulation. This suggests that other seasonal processes are important. Finally, results suggest that the consequences of variations in Arctic landfast ice are not restricted to the Arctic, but affect tidal water levels on a global scale.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020JC016630
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Arctic
  • landfast ice
  • M2 tide
  • seasonal modulation


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