A cruise to Antarctic waters from late October to mid December 1985 provided the opportunity to study characteristics of the seasonal sea ice from a time close to that of maximum extent through early spring decay. The area covered by the observations extends from the northern ice limit to the Antarctic coast between long. 50 °E and 80 E. Shipboard observations included ice extent, type and thickness, and snow depth. Ice cores were drilled at several sites, providing data on salinity and structure.
The observations verify the highly dynamic and divergent nature of the Antarctic seasonal sea-ice 2one. Floe size and thickness varied greatly at all locations, although generally increasing from north to south. A high percentage of the total ice mass exhibited a frazil crystal structure, indicative of the existence of open water in the vicinity.
The ground based observations are compared with observations from satellite sensors. The remote sensing data include the visual channel imagery from NOAA 6, NOAA 9, and Meteor 11. Comparisons are made with the operational ice charts produced (mainly from satellite data) by the Joint Ice Center, and with the analyses available by facsimile from Molodezhnaya.