The thickness distribution of sea ice and snow cover during the late Winter in the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas, Antarctica
Worby, AP and Jeffries, MO and Weeks, WF and Morris, K and Jana, R, The thickness distribution of sea ice and snow cover during the late Winter in the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas, Antarctica, Journal of Geophysical Research, 101, (C12) pp. 28441-28455. ISSN 0148-0227 (1996) [Refereed Article]
Data collected from a voyage of RV Nathaniel B. Palmer to the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas during August-September 1993 are used to investigate the thickness distribution of sea ice and snow cover and the processes that influence the development of the first-year pack ice. The data are a combination of in situ and ship-based measurements and show that the process of floe thickening is highly dependent on ice deformation; in particular, rafting and ridging play important roles at different stages of floe development. Rafting is the major mechanism in the early stages of development, and core structure data show the mean thickness of individual layers of crystals to be only 0.12 m. Most ice < 0.3 m is not ridged but is usually rafted before attaining this thickness, well before thermodynamic growth has ceased. In thicker floes, ridging is more common, with most floes > 0.6 m having some surface deformation. Blocks within ridge sails are typically in the range 0.3-0.6 m thick, and ship-based observations estimate approximately 25% of the pack exhibits surface ridging. When corrected for biases in the observational methods, the data show that the dominant ice and snow thickness categories are > 0.7 m and 0.2-0.5 m, respectively, and account for 40% and 36% of the surface area of the pack ice. Approximately 8% of the pack is open water. An estimate of the effects of ridging on the distribution of ice mass within the pack suggests that between 50 and 75% of the total mass is contained within the 25% of the pack that exhibits surface ridging. Copyright 1996 by the American Geophysical Union.