Sea Ice Physical-Structrual Characteristics: Development and SAR Signature in the Pacific Sector of the Southern Ocean
This project is an examination of the physical and structural properties of the antarctic ice pack in the Amundsen, Bellingshausen, and Ross Seas, with the goal of defining the geographical variability of various ice types, the deformation processes that are active in the antarctic ice pack, and the large-scale thermodynamics and heat exchange processes of the ice- covered Southern Ocean. An additional goal is to relate specific characteristics of antarctic sea ice to its synthetic aperture radar (SAR) signature as observed from satellites. Physical properties include the salinity, temperature, and brine volumes, while structural properties include the fraction of frazil, platelet, and congelation ice of 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 (which has been observed to be generally in excess of 50% in Weddell Sea ice floes) is an important variable in the energy budget of the upper ocean, and contributes significantly to the stabilization of the surface layers. The integration of sea ice field observations and synthetic aperture radar data analysis and modeling studies will contribute to a better understanding of sea ice parameters and their geophysical controls, and will be useful in defining the kind of air-ice-ocean interactions that can be studied using SAR data, as well as having broader relevance and application to atmospheric, biological, and oceanographic investigations of the Southern Ocean.
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