The Salinity and Stratification at the Sea Ice Edge (SASSIE) project is a 2022 NASA field experiment focused on understanding the dynamics and impacts of near-surface anomalies generated by melting sea ice. In the western Arctic, salinity controls upper ocean stratification and heat is stored subsurface. Melting sea ice leaves a thin, stable layer of fresh water on the sea surface that can isolate this heat. SASSIE will test the hypothesis that in areas where the fresh layers generated by summer ice melt persist, the ocean surface cools quickly, creating conditions favorable for rapid ice advance in autumn.
SASSIE sampled the transition from summer melt to autumn ice advance in the Beaufort Sea in August-October 2022, making intensive in situ and remote sensing observations within ~200 km of the sea ice edge. Detailed measurements of upper ocean and surface salinity and temperature, air-sea fluxes, surface waves, and sea ice properties were collected from ship-based sensors and numerous autonomous assets. Airborne sensors measured SST, SSS, wind speed, and visible imagery of sea ice.
SASSIE collected data in the Beaufort Sea off the northern coast of Alaska during August-October 2022.
R/V Woldstad, equipped with
Basler BT-67 aircraft equipped with: