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Marine radar observations of iceberg distribution in the summer Southern Ocean

  • Peng Lu (a1), Zhijun Li (a1), Liqiong Shi (a1) and Wenfeng Huang (a1)

Abstract

During the 19th Chinese National Antarctic Research Expedition from December 2002 to January 2003, 1085 icebergs were observed along the cruise track within the range 58–68° S in the Southern Ocean using the marine radar on the R/V Xuelong. These icebergs were located mainly in the Ross Sea, Weddell Sea and Prydz Bay with lengths ranging from 68 to 8169 m. Both power-law and Weibull functions are applied to the curve fitting of cumulative probability distribution of iceberg length in each region. The results reveal that the power-law function underestimates the measured data in the middle of the data, but overestimates them for both the smallest and largest iceberg sizes, whereas the Weibull function underestimates the measured data when iceberg length is large enough. To reduce the relative error increasing with iceberg length, the Weibull function is used only in fitting to iceberg lengths less than a threshold value of iceberg size (L t) and the power-law function is used in fitting to iceberg lengths >L t. The improved curve fits show a good correlation over the full range of the data. This clearly reveals that an upper limit of iceberg length exists in the good agreement between the Weibull function and the measured data, which is attributed to different thermodynamic effects on calving processes and subsequent modification of large and small icebergs. In addition, iceberg size in Prydz Bay increases and then decreases when approaching the Amery Ice Shelf as a result of bergy bits and growlers calved from large icebergs in front of the ice shelf.

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References

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