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A magnetic resonance study of temperature-dependent microstructural evolution and self-diffusion of water in Arctic first-year sea ice

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The microstructural evolution of brine inclusions in granular and columnar sea ice has been investigated through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for temperatures between −28 and −3°C. Thin-section and salinity measurements were completed on core samples obtained from winter sea ice near Barrow, Alaska, USA. Subsamples of granular (2–5 cm depth in core) and columnar sea ice (20–23 cm depth) were investigated with morphological spin-echo and diffusion-weighted imaging in a Bruker 4.7T MRI system operating at field gradients of 200 mT m−1 at temperatures of approximately −28, −15, −6 and −3°C. Average linear pore dimensions range from 0.2 to 1 mm and increase with bulk liquid volume fraction as temperatures rise from −15 to −3°C. Granular ice pores are significantly larger than columnar ice pores and exhibit a higher degree of connectivity. No evidence is found of strongly non-linear increases in pore connectivity based on the MRI data. This might be explained by shortcomings in resolution, sensitivity and lack of truly three-dimensional data, differences between laboratory and field conditions or the absence of a percolation transition. Pore connectivity increases between −6 and −3°C. Pore-number densities average at 1.4 ± 1.2 mm−2. The pore-number density distribution as a function of cross-sectional area conforms with power-law and lognormal distributions previously identified, although significant variations occur as a function of ice type and temperature. At low temperatures (<−26°C), pore sizes were estimated from 1H self-diffusivity measurements, with self-diffusivity lower by up to an order of magnitude than in the free liquid. Analysis of diffusional length scales suggests characteristic pore dimensions of <1m at <−26°C.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2005

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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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