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The role of Langmuir circulation in suspension freezing

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In November 2004 we used an acoustic Doppler velocimeter (ADV) to measure the three components of velocity in Langmuir circulation (LC) cells when frazil was forming in a lake. LC circulation was indicated by windrows of slush ice on the water surface. We also collected samples of lake water, ice interstitial water and ice to determine their sediment concentrations. The ADV record showed rotating currents in the cross-wind/vertical plane indicative of LC. Downward-directed velocities were large enough to entrain frazil into the water column for 27% of the 97 min observation time at the ADV location. Sediment concentrations in the ice and interstitial water samples were greater than concentrations in water-column samples collected in upwelling zones of LC cells. We conclude that suspension freezing was forming particle-laden ice as frazil trapped below LC convergence zones grew in downwelled, supercooled water. The rotating roll vortices of Langmuir circulation play an important role in forming sediment-laden ice.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-11-01

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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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