Skip to main content Accessibility help

Salinity and solid fraction of frazil and grease ice

  • Sönke Maus (a1) and Sara De La Rosa (a1) (a2)


Under turbulent conditions ice growth in sea water often occurs as tiny suspended frazil ice crystals. When the turbulence is insufficient to keep the crystals in suspension, they may accumulate in a surface grease layer of pure ice and sea water. Here we give an account of this grease of low solid fraction and high salinity prior to its freeze-up into a solid ice cover. We provide equations for determining the bulk salinity, Sg, and solid ice volume fraction, ϕ s, of the grease layer by indirect and direct methods, review previous observations, and present new data. For the evolution of the solid fraction of accumulating grease ice we find (I) an early mode 0.08 < ϕ s < 0.12 and (II) a long-term packing limit of 0.28 < ϕ s < 0.31, which for sea water of salinity 34 corresponds to 29.5 < Sg <31.5 and 24 < Sg < 26, respectively. We associate (I) with a mechanical limit related to initial random packing of frazil crystals and (II) with a thermodynamic limit, beyond which the grease will freeze-up into a solid ice cover. By comparing the results with a simple model of random close packing of anisotropic particles, we find that the results are consistent with frazil flocs having an aspect ratio of ˜10, much smaller than values assumed in most model applications that include sea-water frazil ice processes.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Salinity and solid fraction of frazil and grease ice
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Salinity and solid fraction of frazil and grease ice
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Salinity and solid fraction of frazil and grease ice
      Available formats



Hide All
Ackermann, NL, Shen, HT and Sanders, B (1994) Experimental studies of sediment enrichment of Arctic ice covers due to wave action and frazil entrainment. J. Geophys. Res., 99(C4), 7761-7770
Altberg, WJ (1936) Twenty years of work in the domain of underwater ice formation (1915-1935). IASH Bull., 23, 373-407
Andersson, A and Daly, SF (1992) Laboratory investigation of trash rack freezeup by frazil ice. CRREL Spec. Rep. 92-16
Andreasson, P, Hammar, L and Shen, HT (1998) The influence of surface turbulence on the formation of ice pans. In Shen HT ed. Ice in Surface Waters: Proceedings of the 14th International Symposium on Ice, 27-31 July 1998, Potsdam, New York, USA. Balkema, Rotterdam, 69-76
Arakawa, K (1954) Studies on the freezing of water. II: formation of disc crystals. J. Fac. Sci., Hokkaido Univ., Ser. 2, 4(5), 311-339
Ashton GD, ed. (1986) River and lake ice engineering. Water Resources Publications, Littleton, CO
Barnes, HT (1906) Ice formation: with special reference to anchor-ice and frazil. John Wiley, New York
Barnes, HT (1928) Ice engineering. Renouf Publishing, Montreal, Que.
Barnes, PW, Reimnitz, E and Fox, D (1982) Ice rafting of fine-grained sediment, a sorting and transport mechanism, Beaufort Sea, Alaska. J. Sediment. Petrol., 52(2), 493-502
Bauer, J and Martin, S (1983) A model of grease ice in small leads. J. Geophys. Res., 88(C5), 2917-2925
Berryman, JG (1983) Random close packing of hard spheres and disks. Phys. Rev. A, 27(2), 1053-1061 (doi: 10.1103/ PhysRevA.27.1053)
Blouwolff, J and Fraden, S (2006) The coordination number of granular cylinders. Europhys. Lett., 76(6), 1095-1101 (doi: 10.1209/epl/i2006-10376-1)
Bukina, LA (1963) On the relation between temperature and ratio of thickness to diameter of frazil ice crystals of disc-like form. Bull. (Izv.) Acad. Sci. USSR, Geophys., 1, 112-114
Carstens, T (1966) Experiments with supercooling and ice formation in flowing water. Geofys. Publ., 26(9), 1-18
Cherepanov, NV and Kozlovskii, AM (1973) Underwater ice in the coastal waters of Antarctica. Sov. Antarct. Exped. Inf. Bull., 8(6), 335-338
Clark, S and Doering, J (2006) Laboratory experiments on frazil- size characteristics in a counterrotating flume. J. Hydraul. Eng., 132(1), 94-101 (doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9429(2006)132:1)
Clark, SP and Doering, JC (2009) Frazil flocculation and secondary nucleation in a counter-rotating flume. Cold Reg. Sci. Technol., 55(2), 221-229 (doi: 10.1016/j.coldregions.2008.04.002)
Coachman, LK (1966) Production of supercooled water during sea ice formation. In Fletcher JO ed. Proceedings of the Symposium on the Arctic Heat Budget and Atmospheric Circulation, 31 January-4 February 1966, Lake Arrowhead, CA, USA. Rand Corporation, Los Angeles, 497-529 (Rand Corporation Research Memorandum RM-5233-NSF)
Daly, SF (1991) Frazil ice. In Cheng KC and Seki N eds. Freezing and melting heat transfer in engineering: selected topics on ice- water systems and welding and casting processes. Hemisphere, New York
De Carolis, G, Olla, P and Pignagnoli, L (2005) Effective viscosity of grease ice in linearized gravity waves. J. Fluid Mech., 535, 369-381 (doi: 10.1017/S002211200500474X)
De la Rosa, S and Maus, S (2011) Laboratory study of frazil ice accumulation under wave conditions. Cryos. Discuss., 5(4), 1835-1886 (doi: 10.5194/tcd-5-1835-2011)
De la Rosa, S, Maus, S and Kern, S (2011) Thermodynamic investigation of an evolving grease to pancake ice field. Ann. Glaciol., 52(57 Pt 2), 206-214 (doi: 10.3189/172756411795931787)
Dempsey, DE, Langhorne, PJ, Robinson, NJ, Williams, MJM, Haskell, TG and Frew, RD (2010) Observation and modeling of platelet ice fabric in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. J. Geophys. Res., 115(C1), C01007 (doi: 10.1029/2008JC005264)
Devik, O (1944) Ice formation in lakes and rivers. Geogr. J., 103(5), 193-203
Doble, MJ (2007) Growth and motion at the Weddell Sea ice edge. (PhD thesis, University of Southampton)
Doble, MJ, Coon, MD and Wadhams, P (2003) Pancake ice formation in the Weddell Sea. J. Geophys. Res., 108(C7), 3029-3030 (doi: 1029/2002JC001373)
Doronin, YuP and Kheisin, DE (1977) Sea ice. Amerind Publishing Co., New Delhi.
Ettema, R, Karim, MF and Kennedy, JF (1984) Laboratory experiments on frazil growth in supercooled water. Cold Reg. Sci. Technol., 10(1), 43-58
Ettema, R, Kirkil, G and Daly, S (2009) Frazil ice concerns for channels, pump-lines, penstocks, siphons, and tunnels in mountainous regions. Cold Reg. Sci. Technol., 55(2), 202-211 (doi: 10.1016/j.coldregions.2008.04.008)
Fofonoff, NP and Millard, RC Jr (1983) Algorithms for computation of fundamental properties of seawater. UNESCO Tech. Pap. Mar. Sci. 44
Frankenstein, G and Garner, R (1967) Equations for determining the brine volume of sea ice from —0.5 to —22.9° C. J. Glaciol., 6(48), 943-944
Gosink, JP and Osterkamp, TE (1983) Measurements and analyses of velocity profiles and frazil ice-crystal rise velocities during periods of frazil-ice formation in rivers. Ann. Glaciol., 4, 79-84
Gradinger, R and Ikävalko J, (1998) Organism incorporation into newly forming Arctic sea ice in the Greenland Sea. J. Plankton Res., 20(5), 871-886
Gross, GW, Wong, PM and Humes, K (1977) Concentration dependent solute redistribution at the ice-water phase boundary. III. Spontaneous convection. Chloride solutions. J. Chem. Phys., 67(11), 5264-5274
Hanley, TO and Tsang, G (1984) Formation and properties of frazil in saline water. Cold Reg. Sci. Technol., 8(3), 209-221
Holland, PR and Feltham, DL (2005) Frazil dynamics and precipitation in a water column with depth-dependent supercooling. J. Fluid Mech., 530, 101-124 (doi: 10.1017/ S002211200400285X)
Jenkins, A and Bombosch, A (1995) Modeling the effects of frazil ice crystals on the dynamics and thermodynamics of ice shelf water plumes. J. Geophys. Res., 100(C4), 6967-6981
Kaufmann, D (1960) Sodium chloride: the production and properties of salt and brine. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC
Kempema, EW, Reimnitz, E and Barnes, PW (1989) Sea ice sediment entrainment and rafting in the Arctic. J. Sediment. Petrol., 59(2), 308-317
Lake, RA and Lewis, EL (1970) Salt rejection by sea ice during growth. J. Geophys. Res., 75(3), 583-597
Lewis, EL and Lake, RA (1971) Sea ice and supercooled water. J. Geophys. Res., 76(24), 5836-5841
Martin, S (1981) Frazil ice in rivers and oceans. Annu. Rev. Fluid Mech., 13, 379-397
Martin, S and Kauffman, P (1974) The evolution of under-ice melt ponds, or double diffusion at the freezing point. J. Fluid Mech., 64(3), 507-528 (doi: 10.1017/S0022112074002527)
Martin, S and Kauffman, P (1981) A field and laboratory study of wave damping by grease ice. J. Glaciol., 27(96), 283-313
Martin, S, Kauffman, P and Welander, PE (1977) A laboratory study of the dispersion of crude oil within sea ice grown in a wave field. In Proceeedings of the Twenty-seventh Alaska Science Conference, vol. II. American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fairbanks, AK, 261-287
MathWorks (2010) MATLAB, version 7.10.0 (R20l0a) Statistics Toolbox. The MathWorks Inc., Natick, MA
Maus, S (2007) On brine entrapment in sea ice: morphological stability, microstructure and convection. Logos Verlag, Berlin
Maus, S and 9 others (2009) Synchrotron-based X-ray tomography: insights into sea ice microstructure. In Leppäranta M ed. Proceedings of the 6th Workshop on Baltic Sea Ice Climate, 2527 August 2008, Lammi Biological Station, Finland. University of Helsinki, Helsinki, 28-45
Maus, S and 7 others (2011) Ion fractionation in young sea ice from Kongsfjorden, Svalbard. Ann. Glaciol., 52(57 Pt2), 301-310 (doi: 10.3189/172756411795931804)
McGuiness, MJ, Williams, MJM, Langhorne, PJ, Purdie, C and Crook, J (2009) Frazil deposition under growing sea ice. J. Geophys. Res., 114(C7), C07014 (doi: 10.1029/2007JC004414)
Michaels, AS, Brian, PLT and Sperry, PR (1966) Impurity effects on the basal plane solidification kinetics of supercooled water. J. Appl. Phys., 37(13), 4649-4661 (doi: 10.1063/1.1708113)
Michel, B (1978) Ice mechanics. Presses de L’Université Laval, Québec
Millero, FJ, Feistel, R, Wright, DG and McDougall, TJ (2008) The composition of standard seawater and the definition of the reference-composition salinity scale. Deep-Sea Res. I, 55, 50-72
Morse, B and Richard, M (2009) A field study of suspended frazil ice particles. Cold Reg. Sci. Technol., 55(1), 86-102 (doi: 10.1016/j.coldregions.2008.03.004)
Nakawo, M (1983) Measurements on air porosity of sea ice. Ann. Glaciol., 4, 204-208
Newyear, K and Martin, S (1997) A comparison of theory and laboratory measurements of wave propagation and attenuation in grease ice. J. Geophys. Res., 102(C11), 25 091-25 099
Omstedt, A and Svensson, U (1984) Modeling supercooling and ice formation in a turbulent Ekman layer. J. Geophys. Res., 89(C1), 735-744
Ono, N (1967) Specific heat and heat of fusion of sea ice. In Oura H ed. Physics of snow and ice. Hokkaido University. Institute of Low Temperature Science, Sapporo, 599-610
Onstott, RG, Grenfell, TC, Perovich, DK and Swift, CT (1998) Electromagnetic and physical properties of sea ice formed in the presence of wave action. IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens., 36(5), 1764-1783
Pease, CH (1987) The size of wind-driven coastal polynyas. J. Geophys. Res., 92(C7), 7049-7059
Pounder ER, (1965) The physics of ice. Pergamon Press, Oxford
Pringle, DJ, Miner, JE, Eicken, H and Golden, KM (2009) Pore-space percolation in sea ice single crystals. J. Geophys. Res., 114(C12), C12017 (doi: 10.1029/2008JC005145)
Pronk, P, Infante Ferreira, CA and Witkamp, GJ (2005) A dynamic model of Ostwald ripening in ice suspensions. J. Cryst. Growth, 275(1-2), e1355-e1361 (doi: 10.1016/j.jcrysgro.2004.11.173)
Rahli, O, Tadrist, L and Blanc, R (1999) Experimental analysis of the porosity of randomly packed rigid fibres. C. R. Acad. Sci. [Paris], Sér. IIB, 327(8), 725-729 (doi: 0.1016/S1287-4620(99)80127-6)
Reimnitz, E, Clayton, JR Jr, Kempema, EW, Payne, JR and Weber, WS (1993) Interaction of rising frazil with suspended particles: tank experiments with applications to nature. Cold Reg. Sci. Technol., 21(2), 117-135
Shen, HT ed. (1999) Ice in Surface Waters: Proceedings of the 14th International Symposium on Ice, 27-31 July 1998, Potsdam, New York, USA. Vols. 1 and 2. AA Balkema, Rotterdam
Smedsrud, LH (2001) Frazil-ice entrainment of sediment: large- tank laboratory experiments. J. Glaciol., 47(158), 461-471 (doi: 10.3189/172756501781832142)
Smedsrud, LH and Skogseth, R (2006) Field measurements of Arctic grease ice properties and processes. Cold Reg. Sci. Technol., 44(3), 171-183 (doi: 10.1016/j.coldregions.2005.11.002)
Song, C, Wang, P and Makse, HA (2008) A phase diagram for jammed matter. Nature, 453(7195), 629-632 (doi: 10.1038/nature06981)
Svensson, U and Omstedt, A (1994) Simulation of supercooling and size distribution in frazil ice dynamics. Cold Reg. Sci. Technol., 22(3), 221-233
Thibert, E and Domine, F (1997) Thermodynamics and kinetics of the solid solution of HCl in ice. J. Phys. Chem., B, 101(18), 3554-3565
Tiller, WA (1991) The science of crystallization: macroscopic phenomena and defect generation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Tison, J-L, Ronveaux, D and Lorrain, RD (1993) Low salinity frazil ice generation at the base of a small Antarctic ice shelf. Antarct. Sci., 5(3), 309-322
Tison, J-L, Haas, C, Gowing, MM, Sleewaegen, S and Bernard, A (2002) Tank study of physico-chemical controls on gas content and composition during growth of young ice, J. Glaciol., 48(161), 177-191
Torquato, S, Truskett, TM and Debenedetti, PG (2000) Is random close packing of spheres well defined? Phys. Rev. Lett., 84(10), 20642067 (doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.84.2064)
Tsang, G and Hanley, TO (1985) Frazil formation in water of different salinities and supercoolings. J. Glaciol., 31(108), 74-85
Tyshko, KP and Cherepanov, NV (1998) Supercooling of large water volumes: laboratory experiments. In Shen HT ed. Ice in Surface Waters: Proceedings of the 14th International Symposium on Ice, 27-31 July 1998, Potsdam, New York, USA. Bal kema, Rotterdam, 371-377
Untersteiner, N and Sommerfeld, R (1964) Supercooled water and the bottom topography of floating ice. J. Geophys. Res., 69(6), 1057-1062
Ushio, S and Wakatsuchi, M (1993) A laboratory study on supercooling and frazil ice production processes in winter coastal polynyas. J. Geophys. Res., 98(C11), 20 321-20 328
Voropayev, SI, Fernando, HJS and Mitchell, LA (1995) On the rate of frazil ice formation in polar regions in the presence of turbulence. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 26(6), 1441-1450
Wadhams, P and Wilkinson, JP (1999) The physical properties of sea ice in the Odden ice tongue. Deep-Sea Res. II, 46(6-7), 1275-1300
Wang, R and Shen, HH (2010) Experimental study of surface wave propagating through a grease-pancake ice mixture. Cold Reg. Sci. Technol., 61(23), 90-96
Wang, SM and Doering, JC (2005) Numerical simulation of supercooling process and frazil ice evolution. J. Hydraul. Eng., 131(10), 889-897 (doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9429(2005) 131:10(889))
Weeks, WF and Gow, AJ (1978) Preferred crystal orientations in the fast ice along the margins of the Arctic Ocean. J. Geophys. Res., 83(C10), 5105-5121
Weeks, WF and Lofgren, G (1967) The effective solute distribution coefficient during the freezing of NaCl solutions. In Oura H ed. Physics of snow and ice. Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, 579-597
White, KD and Lawson, DE (1992) Determining the intrinsic permeability of frazil ice. Pt. 2, Field investigations. CRREL Rep. 92-07
Wilkinson, J (2005) Sea ice, convection and the Greenland Sea. (PhD thesis, University of Southampton)
Williams, SR and Philipse, AP (2003) Random packings of spheres and spherocylinders simulated by mechanical contraction. Phys. Rev. E, 67(5), 051301 (doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.67.051301)
Wouterse, A, Williams, SR and Philipse, AP (2007) Effect of particle shape on the density and microstructure of random packings. J. Phys. Condensed Matter, 19(40), 406215 (doi: 10.1088/ 0953-8984/19/40/406215)
Yokoyama, E, Sekerka, RF and Furukawa, Y (2000) Growth trajectories of disk crystals of ice growing from supercooled water. J. Phys. Chem. B, 104(1), 65-67 (doi: 10.1021/jp991280b)
Zaytsev, ID and Aseyev, GG (1992) Properties of aqueous solutions of electrolytes. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed