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Standardization of electromagnetic–induction measurements of sea-ice thickness in polar and subpolar seas

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Electromagnetic-induction (EM) instruments can be used to estimate sea-ice thickness because of the large contrast in the conductivities of sea ice and sea water, and are currently used in investigations of sea-ice thickness. In this study we analyze several snow, ice and sea-water samples and attempt to derive an appropriate formula to transform the apparent conductivity obtained from EM measurements to the total thickness of snow and ice for all regions and seasons. This was done to simplify the EM tuning procedure. Surface EM measurement transects with the instrument at varying heights above the ice were made in the Chukchi Sea, off East Antarctica, in the Sea of Okhotsk and in Saroma-ko (lagoon). A standardized transformation formula based on a one-dimensional multi-layer model was developed that also considers the effects of water-filled gaps between deformed ice, a saline snow slush layer, and the increase in the footprint size caused by increasing the instrument height. The overall average error in ice thickness determined with the standardized transform was <7%, and the regional average errors were 2.2% for the Arctic, 7.0% for the Antarctic, 6.5% for the Sea of Okhotsk and 4.4% for Saroma-ko.

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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