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Seasonal changes of sea-ice characteristics off East Antarctica

  • Ian Allison (a1) and Anthony Worby (a1)

Abstract

Data on Antarctic sea‐ice characteristics, and their spatial and temporal variability, are presented from cruises between 1986 and 1993 for the region spanning 60°−150° E between October and May. In spring, the sea‐ice zone is a variable mixture of different thicknesses of ice plus open water and in some regions only 30−40% of the area is covered with ice >0.3 m thick. The thin‐ice and open‐water areas are important for air‐sea heat exchange. Crystallographic analyses of ice cores, supported by salinity and stable‐isotope measurements, show that approximately 50% of the ice mass is composed of small frazil crystals. These are formed by rapid ice growth in leads and polynyas and indicate the presence of open water throughout the growth season. The area‐averaged thickness of undeformed ice west of 120° E is typically less than 0.3 m and tends to‐increase with distance south of the ice edge. Ice growth by congelation freezing rarely exceeds 0.4 m, with increases in ice thickness beyond this mostly attributable to rafting and ridging. While most of the total area is thin ice or open water, in the central pack much of the total ice mass is contained in ridges. Taking account of the extent of ridging, the total area‐averaged ice thickness is estimated to be about 1m for the region 60°−90° E and 2 m for the region 120°−150° E. By December, new ice formation has ceased in all areas of the pack and only floes >0.3 m remain. In most regions these melt completely over the summer and the new season's ice formation starts in late February. By March, the thin ice has reached a thickness of 0.15 0.30 m, with nilas formation being an important mechanism for ice growth within the ice edge

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References

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Allison, I.. 1989a. The East Antarctic sea‐ice zone: ice characteristics and drift. Geojournal, 18(1), 103115.10.1007/BF00722394
Allison, I.. 1989b. Pack-ice drift off East Antarctica and some implications. Ann. Glaciol., 12, 18.
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Lange, M., Schlosscr, A. P., Ackley, S. F., Wadhams, P. and Dieckmann, G. S.. 1990. 18 O concentrations in sea ice of the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. J. Glaciol., 36(124), 315323.10.3189/002214390793701291
Maykut, G. A.. 1978. Energy exchange over young sea ice in the central Arctic. J. Geophys. Res., 87(C10), 36463658.10.1029/JC083iC07p03646
U .S. Naval Oceanography Command. 1985. Sea ice climatic atlas. Volume I Antarctica. Navair, 50-lc-540. Asheville, U.S. Naval Oceanography Command.
Wadhams, P., Lange, M. A. and Ackley, S. F.. 1987. The ice thickness distribution across the Atlantic sector of the Antarctic Ocean in midwinter. J. Geophys. Res., 92(C13), 14,53514,552.10.1029/JC092iC13p14535
Worby, A. P. and Allison, I.. 1991. Ocean-atmosphere energy exchange over thin, variable concentration Antarctic pack ice. Ann. Glaciol., 15, 184190.10.1017/S026030550000971X
World Meteorological Organization. 1970. WMO sea-ice nomenclature, terminology, codes and illustrated glossary. WMO/OMM/BMO, 259, TP 145. Geneva, World Meteorological Organization.

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Seasonal changes of sea-ice characteristics off East Antarctica

  • Ian Allison (a1) and Anthony Worby (a1)

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