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Development of Sea Ice in the Weddell Sea

  • M.A. Lange (a1), S.F. Ackley (a2), P. Wadhams (a3), G.S. Dieckmann (a1) and H. Eicken (a1)...

Abstract

We report on the development and physical properties of sea ice in the central and eastern Weddell Sea. The investigations were part of the Winter Weddell Sea Project 1986, which extended over the months of July through December. Major elements of the glaciological part of this study included continuous shipborne observations of sea-ice conditions and occasional helicopter reconnaissance flights, extensive measurements of snow and ice thicknesses at daily ice stations, and detailed analyses of sampled ice cores from each ice station. Textural investigations of the sampled ice revealed the dominance of frazil ice in the central Weddell Sea and the occurrence of an additional ice class, called platelet ice, together with the commonly known frazil and congelation ice in the coastal region of the eastern Weddell Sea. These results, in combination with the visual ice observations, reveal two major mechanisms for sea-ice generation in the Antarctic, which were not sufficiently well accounted for in previous investigations. In the central Weddell Sea, a cycle of pancake-ice formation and its growth into consolidated floes seems to be the dominant process of the advancing sea-ice edge. In the coastal waters, the growing sea-ice cover consists, to a considerable degree, of ice platelets which are formed in the underlying water column in front of the ice-shelf edges. Thus, congelation-ice growth, which is mainly controlled by atmospheric, thermodynamic forcing, seems to be of less importance in the central and south-eastern Weddell Sea than, for example, in the Arctic Basin.

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References

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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
  • URL: /core/journals/annals-of-glaciology
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