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Seasonal development of the sea-ice thickness distribution in East Antarctica: measurements from upward-looking sonar

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Upward-looking sonar (ULS) data are presented from a prototype instrument deployed at 63°18' S, 107°49' E in 1994. These data show the seasonal evolution of the ice-draft distribution from May when predominantly thin ice is present, through October when substantially thicker ice has been formed by deformation. The mean ice draft reaches a maximum in August at 1.21m, the same month in which ship-based observations from the same region show a peak in ice thickness. The observed distribution from ULS data is only for drafts >0.3 m due to data losses caused by the low acoustic reflectivity of actively forming ice. The spring distributions show very little development of drafts >3.0 m, and it is hypothesized that this is due to the cyclical nature of deformation in the East Antarctic pack-ice zone, and that periods of sustained pressure required to form very thick ice are uncommon in this region.

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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