Humfrey Melling

Research Scientist

Study of the physical oceanography of ice-covered seas

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Current research and/or projects

I am a physical oceanographer with research interests in high latitude oceanography and sea ice. With technical and scientific colleagues here at the Institute of Ocean Sciences, I have pioneered the application of aircraft-based techniques to the study of ice-covered oceans.

Since 1980, we have carried out a wide variety of ocean measurements using such techniques in the Beaufort Sea, the Arctic Ocean and the myriad channels of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Recent work has documented temporal variations in the Arctic coastal ocean, over seasonal and longer time scales. We have now records of hydrographic conditions in winter over a 15-year period, and a continuous 7-year record of ocean circulation, ice drift and ice thickness in the southern Beaufort Sea. Our development of reliable techniques for the deployment and recovery of moored instrumentation in ice-covered waters has greatly facilitated the year-round observation of oceanic conditions.

The data are providing valuable insights into processes which control the characteristics of the Arctic Ocean: the forcing of the upper ocean by freezing, the ventilation of the Arctic basins, the evolution of pack ice in the thickness distribution of pack ice, and the exchanges of ice and freshwater between the Arctic and temperate oceans. An improving ability to describe the interannual variation in these processes, will facilitate the detection of trends in the Arctic Ocean which may be related to climate variation.

Key publications

  1. Amundrud, T.L., H. Melling, R.G. Ingram, and S.E. Allen. 2006. The effect of structure porosity on the melting of ridge keels in pack ice. Journal of Geophysical Research. 111(C06004). doi: 10.1029/2005JC002895.
  2. Münchow, A., H. Melling and K.K. Falkner. 2006. An observational estimate of volume and freshwater flux leaving the Arctic Ocean through Nares Strait. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 36:2025-2041.
  3. Paull, C.K., W. Ussler III, S.R. Dallimore, S.M. Blasco, T.D. Lorenson, H. Melling, B.E. Medioli, F.M. Nixon and F. McLaughlin. 2006. Origins of pingo-like features on the Beaufort Sea shelf and their possible relationship to decomposing gas hydrates. Geophysical Research Letters. 34(L1603). doi: 10.1029/2006GL027977.
  4. Samelson, R.M., T.A. Agnew, H. Melling and A. Münchow. 2006. Evidence for atmospheric control of sea-ice motion through Nares Strait. Geophysical Research Letters. 33(L02506). doi: 10.1029/2005GL025016.
  5. Dumas, J., E. Carmack and H. Melling. 2005. Climate change impacts on the Beaufort Shelf landfast ice. Cold Reg. Sci. Tech. 42:41-51.
  6. Eicken, H., R. Gradinger, A. Graves, A. Mahoney, I. Rigor and H. Melling. 2005. Sediment transport by sea ice in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas: Increasing importance due to changing ice conditions? Deep-Sea Research II. 52:3281-3302.
  7. Fissel, D., J.R. Marko and H. Melling. 2005. Wave measurements using upward looking sonars in marginal and polar sea ice regimes. ASL Environmental Science.
  8. McBean, G.A., G. Alekseev, D. Chen, E. Forland, J. Fyfe, P.Y. Groisman, R. King, H. Melling, R. Vose, and P.H. Whitfield. 2005. 2. Arctic Climate: Past and Present. In: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. 21-60. doi: 10.1029/2005GL024483. -1042. Cambridge University Press.
  9. Melling, H., D.A. Riedel and Z. Gedalof. 2005. Trends in draft and extent of seasonal pack ice, Canadian Beaufort Sea. Geophysical Research Letters. 32(L24501). doi: 10.1029/2005GL024483.
  10. O'Brien, M.C., R.W. Macdonald, H. Melling and K. Iseki. 2005. Particle fluxes and geochemistry on the Canadian Beaufort Shelf: implications for sediment transport and deposition. Continental Shelf Research. 26:41-81. doi: 10.1019/j.csr.2005.09.007.
  11. Amundrud, T.L., H. Melling and R.G. Ingram. 2004. Geometrical constraints on the evolution of ridged sea ice. Journal of Geophysical Research.109(C06005). doi:10.1029/2003JC002251.
  12. McLaughlin, F.A., E.C. Carmack, R.W. MacDonald, H. Melling, J.H. Swift, P.A. Wheeler, B.F. and E.B. Sherr. 2004. The joint roles of Pacific and Atlantic-origin waters in the Canada Basin, 1997-1998. Deep Sea Research I. 51:107-128.
  13. Melling, H. 2004. Fluxes through the Northern Canadian Arctic Archipelago. ASOF Newsletter. 2:3-13.
  14. Mullison, J., H. Melling, H.P. Freitag and W. Johns. 2004. Climate variability research aided by moored current profiles. Sea Technology. 45(2):17-27.
  15. Falkingham, J., H. Melling and K.Wilson. 2003. Shipping in the Canadian Arctic: Possible climate change scenarios. Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society Bulletin. 31(3):68-69.
  16. Fukamachi, Y., G. Mizuta, K.I. Oshima, H. Melling, D. Fissel and M. Wakatsuchi. 2003. Variability of sea-ice draft of Hokkaido in the Sea of Okhotsk revealed by a moored ice-profiling sonar in winter of 1999. Geophysical Research Letters. 30(7):1376.
  17. Bellchamber T., H. Melling and R.G. Ingram. 2002. Modelling the evolution of draft distribution in the sea ice pack of the Beaufort Sea. Proceedings of the 16th IAHR International Symposium on Ice, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. 8p
  18. Falkingham, J., H. Melling and K.J. Wilson. 2002. Shipping in the Canadian Arctic: possible climate change scenarios. Weathering Change. Fall 2002: 4-5.
  19. Fissel, D.B., J.R. Marko and H. Melling. 2002. Identifying 'skylites' for AUV operations under pack ice: Insights from ice-draft profiling by moored sonar. Proceedings Oceans 2002, Biloxi, Mississippi. 6 pp.
  20. Fissel, D.B., J.R. Marko and H. Melling. 2002. Wave measurements using upward looking sonar in marginal and polar sea-ice regimes. Proceedings of the 7th International Waves Workshop, Banff, Canada, 11 pp.
  21. Gratton, Y., H. Melling, M. Ouellet, M-E Rail, B. van Hardenberg and R.G. Ingram. 2002. Distribution of temperature and salinity in northern Baffin Bay during the International North Water Programme (August 1997, April-July 1998, September 1999). Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. In press.
  22. Ingram R.G., J. Bâcle, D.G. Barber, Y. Gratton and H. Melling. 2002. An overview of physical processes in the North Water. Deep-Sea Research II. 49(22-23):4893-4906.
  23. Melling, H. 2002. Sea ice of the northern Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Journal of Geophysical Research. 107(C11):3181.
  24. Melling, H., Y Gratton and R.G. Ingram. 2001. Ocean Circulation within the North Water Polyna of Baffin Bay. Atmosphere-Ocean. 39(3):301-325.
  25. Melling, H. 1998. Detection of features in first-year pack ice by synthetic aperture radar (SAR). International Journal of Remote Sensing. 19(6):1223-1249.
  26. Melling, H. 1998. Sound scattering from sea ice: Aspects relevant to ice-draft profiling by sonar. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 15(4):1023-1034.
  27. Melling, H. 1998. Hydrographic changes in the Canada Basin of the Arctic Ocean, 1979-1996. Journal of Geophysical Research. 103(C4):7637-7645.
  28. Melling, H. 1998. Seasonal ice production within Arctic marginal seas and its role in shallow ventilation of the Canada Basin. Proceedings of the International Workshop on Exchange Processes between the Arctic Shelves and Basins, Yokohama, Japan, February 1998.
  29. Melling, H. 1998. "The ACSYS Sea Ice Programme", Chapter 3, WCRP/ACSYS Implementation Plan. WMO. WCRP-85 WMO/TD-No. 627.
  30. Galloway, J.L. and H. Melling. 1997. Tracking the motion of sea ice by correlation sonar. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 14(3):616-629.
  31. Melling, H. 1997. Scientific interpretation of measurements by ice profiling sonar. Invited paper. Proceedings of the ACSYS International Workshop on Sea Ice Thickness Measurement and Data Analysis, Monterey, April 1997. WCRP/ACSYS.
  32. Melling, H. 1997. Sound scattering by sea ice: Aspects relevant to ice-draft profiling by sonar. Proceedings of the ACSYS International Workshop on Sea Ice Thickness Measurement and Data Analysis, Monterey, April 1997. WCRP/ACSYS.
  33. Melling, H. 1997. Statistical processing of ice-draft observations from moored sonar. Proceedings of the ACSYS International Workshop on Sea Ice Thickness Measurement and Data Analysis, Monterey, April 1997. WCRP/ACSYS.
  34. Melling, H. 1997. Flow from the Arctic Ocean through the channels of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Proceedings of the ACSYS Conference on Polar Processes and Global Climate, Rosario, November 1997.
  35. Carmack, E.C., Flato, G.M., P. Marsh, H. Melling and R.E. Stewart. 1996. Arctic Climate Systems System Study: The Canadian Science Plan, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, B.C.
  36. Melling, H. and D.A. Riedel. 1996. Development of seasonal pack ice in the Beaufort Sea during the winter of 1991-92: A view from below. Journal of Geophysical Research. 101(C5): 11,975-11,991.
  37. Melling, H. and D.A. Riedel. 1996. The thickness and ridging of pack ice causing difficult shipping conditions in the Beaufort Sea, Summer 1991. Atmosphere-Ocean. 34(3):457-487.
  38. Melling, H. 1996. Water modification on Arctic continental shelves: Seasonal cycle and interannual variation. Invited paper. Proceedings WMO/ICSU/IOC Conference on the Dynamics of the Arctic Climate System, 7-10 November 1994, Goteborg, Sweden. WCRP-94, WMO/TD-No. 760. 78-82.
  39. Melling, H. and D.A. Riedel. 1996. Development of seasonal ice cover in the Beaufort Sea: A view from below. Proceedings WMO/ICSU/IOC Conference on the Dynamics of the Arctic Climate System, 7-10 November 1994, Goteborg, Sweden. WCRP-94, WMO/TD-No.760.
  40. Melling, H. and R.M. Moore. 1995. Modification of halocline source waters during freezing on the Beaufort Sea shelf: Evidence from oxygen isotopes and dissolved nutrients. Continental Shelf Research. 15(1): 81-113.
  41. Melling, H. and D.A. Riedel. 1995. The underside topography of sea ice over the continental shelf of the Beaufort Sea in the winter of 1990. Journal of Geophysical Research. 100(C7):13641-13653.
  42. Melling, H., P.H. Johnston and D.A. Riedel. 1995. Measurement of the topography of sea ice by moored subsea sonar. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 12(3):589-602.
  43. Melling, H. and D.A. Riedel. 1994. Draft and movement of pack ice in the Beaufort Sea April 1991-April 1992. Canadian Technical Report of Hydrography and Ocean Sciences. 162. Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, BC, Canada, V8L 4B2., 109 pp.
  44. Melling, H., D.R. Topham and D. Riedel. 1993. Topography of the upper and lower surfaces of 10 hectares of deformed sea ice. Cold Regions Science and Technology. 21:349-369.
  45. Melling, H. and D.A. Riedel. 1993. Draft and movement of pack ice in the Beaufort Sea April 1990-March 1991. Canadian Technical Report of Hydrography and Ocean Sciences. 151. Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, BC, Canada, V8L 4B2. 79 pp.
  46. Melling, H. 1993. The formation of a haline shelf front in a ice-covered arctic sea. Continental Shelf Research. 13:1123-1147.
  47. Moore, R.M., H. Melling and K.R. Thompson. 1992. A description of water types on the Mackenzie shelf of the Beaufort Sea during winter. Journal of Geophysical Research. 97(C8):12,607-12,618.
  48. Fissel, D.B., and H. Melling. 1990. Interannual variability of oceanographic conditions in the southeastern Beaufort Sea. Canadian Contractor Report of Hydrography and Ocean Sciences. 35. Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, BC, Canada, V8L 4B2., 102 pp.