The Role of Snow in Antarctic Sea Ice Development and Ocean-Atmosphere Energy Exchange
The goal of this investigation is to understand the role of snow in sea ice development processes and air-ice-ocean heat exchange interactions in the seasonal and perennial sea ice zones of the Ross Sea, the Amundsen Sea, and the Bellingshausen Sea. Observations and measurements of the characteristics of sea ice and snow will be combined with numerical models of sea-ice flooding and the entrainment of snow into the ice cover in order to gain an understanding of the sea-ice heat and mass balance, and to quantify the energy exchange within the antarctic sea-ice cover. The snow measurement program, using the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer, will include depth, grain size and morphology, density, temperature, thermal conductivity, water content, and stable isotope ratio. The ice measurement program will include thickness, salinity, temperature, density, brine content, and included gas volume, as well as such structural properties as the fraction of frazil, platelet, and congelation ice in the seasonal antarctic pack ice. Differences in ice types are the result of differences in the environment in which the ice forms: frazil ice is formed in supercooled sea water, normally through wind or wave-induced turbulence, while platelet and congelation ice is formed under quiescent conditions. The fraction of frazil ice is an important variable in the energy budget of the upper ocean, and contributes significantly to the stabilization of the surface layers. The numerical models will involve the thermodynamics of phase changes from liquid water to ice, along with the resulting energy transfer, brine expulsion, and the modulating effect of a snow cover. The results are expected to have broad relevance and application to understanding the effects of sea-ice processes in global change, and atmospheric, oceanographic, and remote sensing investigations of the Southern Ocean.
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