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Superimposed-ice formation in summer on Ross Sea pack-ice floes

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Austral summer sea-ice processes were investigated in January 1999 during a cruise of the R.V. Nathaniel B. Palmer in the central and eastern Ross Sea, Antarctica. The crystal texture, 18O/16O ratios, density and salinity of ice cores and of ice blocks 'perched' on slush at the ice surface were studied. The perched ice blocks had a distinctive polygonal granular (PG) crystal texture and very negative isotope signature that were also characteristic of layers at the top of first-year floes and of layers 'buried' below the surface in multi-year floes. The PG ice is superimposed ice that results from melting in the snow cover and refreezing at the slush surface and directly on top of ice floes. If PG ice is buried after the ice surface floods and the resultant slush freezes, then snow ice forms above the PG ice. The contribution of superimposed ice to floe surface mass balance and some implications with respect to weather and climate are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-06-01

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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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