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Snow in the sea ice system: friend or foe?


Sturm, M and Massom, RA, Snow in the sea ice system: friend or foe?, Sea Ice: Third Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, DN Thomas (ed), UK, pp. 65-109. ISBN 978-111877838-8 (2016) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1002/9781118778371.ch3


Snow is a crucial and integral component of the sea ice system. It insulates the ice to retard the rate of thermodynamic ice thickening. At the same time, it contributes directly to sea-ice thickening through snow-ice formation, which can occur where the weight of the snow overburden leads to surface flooding. Snow has unique optical properties that reduce the amount of light penetrating to the underlying ice and ocean water, while raising the albedo of the ice in a way that retards melting. Seals also rely on snow drifts on the ice for denning purposes, and snow presence and quality affect human travel across the ice. Moreover, the snow significantly modifies the visual and microwave signals of sea ice in remote sensing. Here, we review the properties of sea ice snow cover and ramifications of that cover for the sea ice system.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:depth hoar, drifts, ice, snow, snow grains, wind slab
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Oceanography not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Massom, RA (Dr Robert Massom)
ID Code:121527
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2017-10-02
Last Modified:2018-04-04

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