Chlorinity/salinity distribution patterns in experimental granular sea ice

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This work investigates the possibility of brine-channel formation and development during the freezing of granular ice from a loose frazil-ice suspension in an NaCl solution at sea-water concentration. Three experiments were performed at various constant growth rates in a purpose-built vessel with computer-controlled thermal driving. High-resolution chlorinity measurements are used as a proxy for the bulk salinity of the samples. These show clear brine-segregation processes in the ice, with very high salinity gradients for the fast (10 mm h–1) to medium (2 mm h–1) freezing rates, provided that a suitable sampling scale is adopted. Weak segregation was found at the low freezing rate (0.5 mm h–1). The spatial distribution of the bulk salinity fits the visual appearance of brine channels in the ice adequately, in both horizontal and vertical sections. In a similar way to columnar-congelation sea ice, the number of brine channels significantly decreases with growth rate, but the density of channels is systematically lower in the granular ice than that found at equivalent freezing rates in the columnar ice. This is attributed to the lower geometrical constraints on brine transport in the granular medium. Contrasts between brine-channel geometry and density at different growth rates are discussed in light of the "mushy-layer" concept adapted to sea-ice growth from the solidification of alloys.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2001

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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