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Ice formation in the Mertz Glacier polynya, East Antarctica, during winter

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During August 1999, detailed data were collected in the Mertz Glacier polynya along the coast of Antarctica on the drift of newly forming ice tracked with drifting buoys, and the ice thickness in the vicinity of the buoys over time. Using these measurements, we estimate the ice-growth rate and the processes which are important in the early stages of ice formation. We find that although there is rapid frazil formation in the open-water areas near the coast and Mertz Glacier Tongue, this frazil ice can take several days to consolidate. A period of warmer weather, when temperatures reached as high as 0°C, delayed the consolidation of the frazil for >4.5 days. The undeformed new-ice growth rate averaged about 4 cm d−1 for the first 5 days of formation. Ridging and rafting doubled the total growth rate to an average of 8 cm d−1. Blowing and falling snow was incorporated into the surface of the newly forming ice, with 16 of 22 ice cores having some snow in the top few centimeters.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • 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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