Sea ice thickness (SIT) is a key parameter of scientific interest because understanding the natural spatiotemporal variability of ice thickness is critical for improving global climate models. In this paper, changes in Arctic SIT during 1982-2003 are examined using a neural network (NN) algorithm trained with in situ submarine ice draft and surface drilling data. For each month of the study period, the NN individually estimated SIT of each ice-covered pixel (25-km resolution) based on seven geophysical parameters (four shortwave and longwave radiative fluxes, surface air temperature, ice drift velocity, and ice divergence/convergence) that were cumulatively summed at each monthly position along the pixel's previous 3-yr drift track (or less if the ice was <3 yr old). Average January SIT increased during 1982-88 in most regions of the Arctic (+7.6 ?? 0.9 cm yr-1), decreased through 1996 Arctic-wide (-6.1 ?? 1.2 cm yr-1), then modestly increased through 2003 mostly in the central Arctic (+2.1 ?? 0.6 cm yr-1). Net ice volume change in the Arctic Ocean from 1982 to 2003 was negligible, indicating that cumulative ice growth had largely replaced the estimated 45 000 km3 of ice lost by cumulative export. Above 65??N, total annual ice volume and interannual volume changes were correlated with the Arctic Oscillation (AO) at decadal and annual time scales, respectively. Late-summer ice thickness and total volume varied proportionally until the mid-1990s, but volume did not increase commensurate with the thickening during 1996-2002. The authors speculate that decoupling of the ice thickness-volume relationship resulted from two opposing mechanisms with different latitudinal expressions: a recent quasi-decadal shift in atmospheric circulation patterns associated with the AO's neutral state facilitated ice thickening at high latitudes while anomalously warm thermal forcing thinned and melted the ice cap at its periphery. ?? 2008 American Meteorological Society.
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Fluctuating Arctic Sea ice thickness changes estimated by an in situ learned and empirically forced neural network model