This paper presents an assessment of the seasonal and interannual variability of the ice volume and ice age exported through the Fram Strait for the winter months of 1979–2021. Two methods for determining the ice volume exported via the strait site are compared: the isobaric drift model and sea ice motion data obtained from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC); each method differs in the way the component of its drift velocity is considered. The ice volume exported along the Fram Strait has a clearly defined seasonal cycle, with a maximum in March–April and a minimum in October. The average total value of ice exported is 2,721 km3 according to the NSIDC data and 2,945 km3 according to the isobaric drift model. The year-to-year assessments of the volume of ice exported do not show a significant trend, contrary to other studies. A peak in ice volume export in late winter corresponds to the maximum of ice thickness.


In recent decades, Arctic sea ice has been decreasing in area and volume (Kwok, 2018; Stroeve and Notz, 2018). Although the reasons for the observed reduction in the ice cover most researchers associate with the warming of the atmosphere and the ocean (e.g., Alexeev et al., 2013; Wendisch et al., 2017), the volume of exported ice as a component of the ice balance of the Arctic Ocean is still actively discussed as contributing to this process.

The Fram Strait is the main source of the export of thick multiyear ice from the Arctic Basin to the Greenland Sea and further to the North Atlantic region. According to the latest assessment (e.g., Smedsrud et al., 2017; Zamani et al., 2019), the East Greenland Current transports about 900 X 103 km2 of ice annually, which is equivalent to 10% of its total area in the entire Arctic Basin.

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