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Growth, properties and relation to radar backscatter coefficient of sea ice in Lützow-Holm Bay, Antarctica

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Based on studies in the Antarctic Oceans, the contribution of the snow cover to sea-ice growth has become of major interest. Snow can result in upward ice growth in contrast with ordinary downward congelation growth at the bottom. A sea-ice study was conducted to verify the upward ice growth found in a previous study and to investigate the relation between sea-ice growth and radar backscattering signature. Sea-ice samples collected at four points in Lützow-Holm Bay, Antarctica, from 1998 to 2003 are analyzed. Analyses of snow-/ice-gauge measurements, snow depth and ice structure reveal an extremely large amount of upward ice growth of up to 1.0 m during one full year compared with a slight amount of downward growth. The upward growth was caused mostly by snow ice and to a lesser extent by superimposed ice. The salinity profile remained unchanged, although the ice survived the summer melt season. Characteristics of superimposed ice such as salinity, 18 O values and structure were obliterated during the summer, implying complete melting or dissolution of the superimposed layer. The ERS-2 backscatter showed a remarkable annual variation: It had a minimum value in midsummer and increased abruptly to a maximum value in late summer, then decreasing gradually in wintertime. The relation of the backscatter coefficient to the growth and properties of the snow cover and sea ice are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2006

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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